Concern over state of uMgungundlovu’s fire stations

2015-06-08 09:50
Firefighters work to subdue a fire that broke out in a building on Hoosen Haffejee Street. It is suspected that the fire was started by Whoonga addicts.

Firefighters work to subdue a fire that broke out in a building on Hoosen Haffejee Street. It is suspected that the fire was started by Whoonga addicts. (Jonathan Burton)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

THE question of whether uMgungundlovu District Municipality has the capacity to make it through the fire season was raised at a recent district council meeting.

The DA raised questions after the fire stations’ lack of staff and resources emerged during a Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) meeting.

The party said the MPAC report shows the fire fighting function, which is a core function of disaster management at district council, is “seriously compromised and may not be able to deal with the looming fire season”.

uMgungundlovu Municipality spokesperson Soya Magida slammed allegations that there is no budget available to buy more fire engines or employ more staff, saying “procurement processes do take time as the municipality does not want to incur irregular expenditure”.

Magida said recruitment of more fire fighters “is currently under way”.

The DA alleged the district fire stations have a shortage of staff, no communication system to contact other organs of disaster management and no connection to the Internet.

Off-duty members cannot be called for overtime as overtime is limited, equipment outdated, inadequate and missing in some instances, and there is a lack of security at fire stations.

The DA said there is no Hazmat equipment, which limits reaction to chemical incidents and that buildings are rented from local councils and are in a state of disrepair.

It suggested that as the district council aspires to become a metro and as a result of the district council being “unable to fulfil its firefighting obligations”, the Msunduzi fire department become the hub of the disaster management fire fighting unit and the district council fire stations become satellites of that fire fighting hub.

However, Magida says the uMgungundlovu District has a “standing service level agreement with the Fire Protection Association and Working on Fire” and their winter contingency plan has been “crafted and is ready for any worst case scenario”.

“Moreover, there are trained staff members who are busy conducting public fire awareness campaigns at schools, including communities in different wards. uMgungundlovu Municipality has good rapport with other stakeholders such as Transnet, in cases of additional resources that may be required such as specialised water tankers …” said Magida.

uMgungundlovu District Municipality elaborates on how the fire stations operate:

There are three major fire engines in Ashburton, Camperdown, Howick and Mooi River.

Two medium fire engines are used in uMshwathi and Impendle and three bakkie pumpers, totalling eight emergency response vehicles for the district.

Currently there are 104 fire personnel.

On a four shift system, four staff work on a 12-hour shift with two firefighters, one pump operator or leading firefighter and one watch commander.

There is a station commander at each station

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.