Fire engine caught in cross fire

Some of the fire engines and ambulances that are going to serve the community of Thokoza. The pic was taken during the opening of the fire station inside the premises on November 3.

According to the DEMS’s media spokesperson William Ntladi, the metro has lost several firefighting vehicles, some brand-new, to the value of millions of rands to crime and vandalism.

This happened again last week when warring communities in Moleleki Extension 2 and those living in Sunrise across the main road, were engaged in a violent confrontation over new unallocated municipal stands.

Soon thereafter, firefighters from the Zonkizizwe Fire station responded to a structural fire call in their newly replaced fire engine in Sunrise section after the previous one was torched in the same area in September 2016.

The crews were escorted to the scene of the fire by the police, but they failed to arrive on time as they were met by a barrage of rocks thrown by an angry community in Moleleki and subsequently, both vehicles had to turn away for safety reasons.

Fortunately, no major damage was done to the fire engine but all five crew members were left traumatized by the incident.

According to information received at the scene, communities from both Moleleki and Sunrise have been caught in an ongoing dispute over service delivery issues affecting both areas. As a result, concrete lamp poles were destroyed and flattened by the angry mobs from both sides.

Wooden electrical power poles were also set alight and power cables cut off while thousands of litres of drinking water from communal taps were left to flow freely on the streets and get wasted.

“Our concern is that these acts of violence and rampant destruction of valuable property such as fire engines could deter valuable service from reaching the community in the event of a fire,” said an angry and furious Ntladi.

DEMS has appealed to community members around Kathorus to refrain from embarking on acts of violence and vandalism against crucial service providers such as the fire department.

“Please stop the attacks on our personnel as there are better ways and means to address your frustrations in your communities.

“The department has raised the flag of peace for everyone to see and destroying these facilities today will have a serious impact tomorrow with detrimental effects tomorrow,” warned Ntladi.

Constable Sizenkosi Mtwa, who is relieving Captain Mega Ndobe as the spokesperson for the Kathorus Cluster SAPS in Katlehong, told Kathorus MAIL he does not have further information about the service delivery issue in Moleleki Section and the Sunrise community because he could not attend a community meeting on the matter as he had to attend a SAPS emergency meeting elsewhere.

Zaid Khumalo

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