by Ismail Obaray – DA Constituency Head of Central Northern Cape
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Date: 13 July 2018
The DA is concerned by Siyathemba Municipality’s lack of urgency to improve its firefighting capacity despite a devastating blaze in May this year that partially gutted a school in Marydale.
While Siyathemba is in possession of an old fire truck in Prieska, the truck is no longer operational. The municipality, however, has chosen not to allocate even a cent towards having the truck repaired and maintained in this financial year, or towards beefing up its firefighting equipment.
Instead, a municipal service bakkie, with a water tank on the back, will continue to serve as the ad hoc local fire brigade, if and when it is available, while community members must serve as the firefighting corps.
Siyathemba’s nonchalant attitude towards disaster response is worrying, especially given the big open stretches of veld in the area.
All municipalities should be equipped to play a key role in rendering the firefighting function. Available equipment should also be closely linked to fire risks within the area.
Fires in the Northern Cape are a frequent challenge.
Earlier this month, the girls’ dormitory of a school hostel in Victoria West burnt down. The Ubuntu Municipality’s fire truck, however, was also not available, as it has been standing in a state of disrepair in Loxton for two years already, since a fire at the JJ Booysen Secondary School in Loxton in 2016.
Given that COGHSTA is responsible for assisting municipalities to build up their fire fighting capacity, the DA will request MEC Bentley Vass, to prioritize Siyathemba in this regard, in the current financial year.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that disasters are efficiently and effectively managed so as to limit service delivery interruptions to the rest of society.
DA Constituency Head of Central Northern Cape
082 380 2128
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387