Fire Destroys Large Parts of the Moravian Mission Station


MEDIA STATEMENT: Wupperthal Fire Disaster: Recovery plans well underway to restore the Moravian Mission Station

Plans a foot and extraordinary efforts been implemented to restore the town following the devastating fire.

Yesterday a meeting took place in Wupperthal that was attended by various church leaders, the community leadership, officials from West Coast District Municipality, councillors and officials from Cederberg Municipality.

The meeting was also attended by officials and experts from the national and provincial government departments that took key decisions to implement recovery and rehabilitation plans in the aftermath of the devastating fire disaster.

Electricity Supply:
The electricity supply and reticulation were restored late yesterday afternoon with the assistance of the electricity departments of the Cederberg and Matzikama municipalities.

Water and Sanitation:
The Moravian Church has consequently also restored the water and sanitation services to the town that is managed by the church that was dependent on the restoration of the electricity supply.

The cellphone repeater servicing the Wupperthal Mission Station has also been completely restored to the town that will greatly assist the communication between the town that was hampered during downtime as it is located within mountainous areas.

Demolition of Damages Buildings:
An agreement has been reached yesterday and approval has been obtained from the Moravian Church including the affected homeowners that the gutted buildings to be demolished in the interest of public safety as the extent of the damages were severe and beyond repair according to the assessments conducted by professional structural engineers.

On Thursday 3 January 2019, Mxolisi Dlamuka the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Western Cape, issued a directive and given authority to demolish the historical buildings and structures that are posing a danger.

The West Coast District Municipality will be leading the coordination relating to the demolishing of the damaged heritage building. Some machinery already arrived in the town and additional specialised plant, equipment and excavator have been requested to commence with the demolition work.

The rubble waste will be transported the landfill site of the local municipality in line with the developed waste management plan.

The burnt clay and straw material will also be used to fill the landfill site. The brick and mortar material will be crushed and recycled.

A team of experts have been commissioned to conduct an assessment for houses that had asbestos and to carefully implement the removal and disposal in line with environmental health requirement prior to the demolition work of the buildings.

The Moravian Church already cordoned off the affected disaster site in the interest of public safety.

Mr Brian Schreuder, the Head of Department of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), granted approval for the commencement of the school to be delayed by one (1) week due to the demolition and recovery work that will be taking place in the coming week.

The T-Courts will be converted into hostels for the scholars and emergency funding has been applied for as the school hostels have been completely destroyed.

Identity Documents:
The Department of Home Affairs already started with the preliminary process to reissue an identity documents after the blaze destroyed the identity documents of the victims and will arrange for transportation to the various government offices.

Emergency Housing:
The Department of Human Settlements of the Western Cape Government also conducted assessments on the need for emergency housing for the fire victims.

A suitable site has been identified within Wupperthal and spatial planning and design efforts are underway.

The Cederberg Municipality is procuring and will provide a tent and temporary toilets for the emergency housing site.

The Moravian Church wish to thank the public, churches, organisations and businesses for the overwhelming support to provide relief efforts to the Wupperthal fire victims.

Members of the public who wishes to deliver donations to the town are advised that access to the town is restricted.

It is encouraged that donations to be delivered to the Clanwilliam Traffic Department situated in Hospital Street where a donations management centre has been established.

An appeal is made to members of the public to reduce the travelling to the town and limit the impact of causing any further disruption to the town.

For enquiries regarding the needs of the fire victims contact can be made with Aubrey (AJ) Van Rooy Brandt on Cell: 076 686 5816 or E-mail:

Restricted Access:
As from Monday 7 January 2019 the Wupperthal Moravian Mission Station will be restricted due to heavy vehicles, machinery, plant and equipment that will be moving into the town to commence with demolition work.

The police authorities will be establishing a control post that will only permit emergency and essential vehicles and residents access and egress to the town.

Strict control measures will be implemented and motorists including tourists are encouraging to avoid visiting the town or to make use of the road/(s) to minimise disruption on the nearby roads.

Media enquiries:
Wilfred Schrevian Evan Solomons Johannes, Cell: 084 711 7709

Reverend Martin Abrahams, Vice President, Moravian Church of Southern Africa, Cell: 083 372 6789
Petronella Horne, Media Liaison Officer, Cederberg Municipality, Cell: 076 982 4529