Jean-Jacques Cornish

Cape ablaze on it’s hottest day in a 100 years

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Bush fires continue to rage in the southern peninsula area of South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

Temperatures soared above 40 degrees in what was the area’s hottest day in century.

Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft waterbombed the blaze and firefighters were drafted in from neighbouring towns. Ends intro

The endemic Western Cape scrub known as fynbos is tinder dry at the end of summer in South Africa’s thin southern sliver area of winter rainfall.

The cause of the fire that started over the weekend has not been established. It has spread rapidly across the peninsula.

Flames are fanned by the strong southeasterly wind that blows across the area at this time of year. The mountainous terrain has made fighting the fire difficult and dangerous.

Hundreds of square kilometres of bush have been left looking like a lunarscape on which slower-moving wildlife has died,.

Damage to property includes a luxury lodge and several homes razed.

There has been time to evacuate areas under threat – including residents of an old-aged gome. One firefighter has been hospitalised with burns. There are no reports of deaths.

President Jacob Zuma has congratulated the fighters. They are working day and night although their aircraft are grounded after dark for safety reasons.

Local communities are supplying them with food and drink which is being ferried to refreshment areas by the network taxi company Uber.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.