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Nyandeni Municipality firefighters often forced hitch-hike to fetch vehicle before responding to fires: DA

Jan 9, 2018
Nyandeni Municipality firefighters often forced hitch-hike to fetch vehicle before responding to fires: DA

Nyandeni Local Municipality firefighters have been operating under dire conditions since 2010, trying to service areas like Libode and Mthatha, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said on Tuesday.

"They have no access to a vehicle that can respond to a natural disaster, no firefighting uniforms including name badges, and work from a small satellite office with no showers, no kitchen station and no toilet facilities," described Thembalihle Xhangayi - OR Tambo District Municipality PR Councillor.

"The OR Tambo District Municipality is constantly risking both the lives of the firefighters and the community by allowing NLM to operate with no firefighting vehicle for over 7 years.

"Firefighters from the municipality have, on many occasions, hitch hiked from Libode to Mthatha to fetch a vehicle that is not always available as it also services King Sabata Dalinyebo Municipality, in hopes of putting out fires in time."

Xhangayi said that it is shocking that the Executive Mayor of OR Tambo District Municipality, Nomakhosazana Meth, has not held the Municipal Manager of Nyandeni Local Municipality, Nomalungisa Nomandela, to account for continuously ignoring the need to establish conducive offices workers can work in as well as basic necessary equipment that is essential for containing fires.

"Mayor Meth has not introduced any plans, even after the Mthatha Magistrates Court caught fire last year and had to rely on assistance from the Mthatha Airport fire team, which is approximately 12 km’s away, because local fire-fighters stationed 200 meters away from the court were not well equipped," Xhangayi added.

"Local governments should be ready for natural disasters, anticipate potential threats and reduce the impact of disasters by using resources made available to them in the quickest way, with the necessary resources at their disposal at all times.

"I have written to Mayor Meth to prioritise the needs of OR Tambo District residents and hold the MM to account for the continuous disregard of prioritising the basic needs of firefighters and residents."