Mopani District Municipality DMC’s head of centre, Hannes Steyn, lost to COVID-19
Hannes Steyn, head of centre at the Mopani District Municipality Disaster management Centre (DMC), succumbed to COVID-19 on Wednesday, 3 February 2021. He was a member of the Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa (DMISA) Board for 2020-2022 and a highly respected member of the disaster management fraternity and will be sorely missed. The following dedication was released by the Mopani District Municipality, where Hannes worked.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Hannes Steyn, head of centre for the Mopani District Municipality Disaster Management Centre. Hannes was well-known in the disaster management fraternity in South Africa, having dedicated much of his life to the field. He was known for his incredible work ethic, leadership skills and ability to work effectively under immensely difficult situations.
Hannes was born on 8 March 1959 in Eldoret, Kenya, to Flippie and Martie Steyn. In 1964, the family moved to the Bela-Bela area in South Africa, where Hannes attended school and later matriculated. Following his matriculation, he joined the Defence Force as a member of the permanent forces and would later work within disaster management for the Northern District Council. During the post-1994 reforms, he was transferred to Tzaneen where he took up a position within disaster management in the region. With the restructuring of local government post-1994, the Mopani District Municipality was formed as one of five districts within the Limpopo Province. Hannes was among those who played an integral part in the establishment and development of the Mopani District Municipality. He was appointed as the head of centre for Disaster Management in the Mopani District and went on to develop the disaster management unit within the district. Under his leadership, the Mopani Disaster Management Centre flourished. Through his vision, today the Mopani Disaster Management Centre stands tall with a full complement of staff to oversee the effective implementation of the Disaster Management Act (57 of 2002), as amended and Disaster Management Framework.
Hannes was also well-known within the broader Disaster Management fraternity, where he worked tirelessly towards the development of Disaster Management throughout South Africa. He was pivotal in the development of the Green and White paper on Disaster Management legislation and formed part of the national task team on the development of the provincial, district and local guideline document on the implementation of the Disaster Management function. Hannes was also a permanent member of the Limpopo Provincial Disaster Management Advisory Committee. As an active member of DMISA, the professional body for Disaster Management, he continued to build capacity in the field. His knowledge and expertise were called upon on countless occasions to navigate disaster situations. Under his guidance or active participation, many disasters could effectively be averted or mitigated. These included fires, aircraft accidents, communicable disease outbreaks and flooding. Many also sought his advice when confronted with difficult situations, particularly within the field of Disaster Management and he would calmly guide them towards a solution using his extensive knowledge. He worked tirelessly towards uplifting others, often placing his own welfare aside in the process.
The number of tributes that have been pouring in are a testament to how deeply respected Hannes was. His legacy will live on through the Mopani Disaster Management Centre. Hannes is survived by his brothers, Jim and Flip and partner Lucky Djadji.
A message from DMISA on the passing of Hannes Steyn
DMISA mourns the passing of a dear friend, colleague and DMISA Board member, Mr Hannes Steyn. He was a member of the DMISA Board for 2020-2022 and a previous member of the DMISA Council and a highly respected member of the Disaster Management fraternity. He will be sorely missed.
In his professional pursuits, Hannes Steyn has been a steadfast supporter of the DMISA mission to build capacity in Disaster Management and to improve on disaster risk reduction as well as disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Hannes was a trend-setting visionary and forward-thinker and was always on the frontline of innovation in the field of Disaster Management. He was very active on provincial level and became one of the very first officially appointed permanent members of the Limpopo PDMAF through the then MEC responsible for Disaster Management. Hannes was very informed and knowledgeable about drought, flood and water security issues and was a pioneer in matters relating to climate change as well as disaster management information management systems and frameworks for planning and operations. He also enjoyed a strong working relationship with the National Disaster Management Centre, where his opinion was valued.
Within DMISA, Hannes was instrumental in re-invigorating the Limpopo region and was chairperson of this very active region. He played a major role in the very successful Tzaneen conference in 2012 and successfully supported the participation in DMISA learning opportunities by officials from his district and the Limpopo Province. He served on the DMISA Council for the 2012-2014 and 2016-2018 terms and was elected to the DMISA Board of 2020-2022 by his region.
Hannes was always friendly, sociable, inquisitive, eager to engage new ideas, thoughtful and concerned about improvement and quality of service. We will remember him as a true gentleman who placed others before himself and was a true professional in service of his community, someone who others listened to and respected. We consider ourselves fortunate to have known him and to have worked with him. May his soul rest in peace.
Fire and Rescue International wishes his family, friends and colleagues our deepest condolences on Hannes’ passing.
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