Fire dept defends billing for all call-outs

2012-05-29 22:42

Pretoria - The Tshwane fire brigade has defended its practice of issuing invoices for every fire or accident it attends.

"It is not new for the fire brigade services to issue invoices for accidents as well as other types of incidents," Tshwane fire safety deputy chief Steve Combrink said on Tuesday.

"This has been in the approved council report on tariffs for some time now."

Beeld reported that the Tshwane fire brigade had started issuing invoices for every call-out, whereas in the past they were only issued for house fires.

A source was quoted as saying that even if somebody died in an accident, the deceased's next of kin would receive an invoice.

According to the report, it's claimed that the invoices range between R375 and R1 900.

The source said that it makes no difference if it is an accident, a veldfire, or a cat which was rescued from a tree - people will pay.

Combrink said: "Should people be involved in vehicle accidents or fires and they need our assistance, even if another person phoned, then yes, they will be invoiced."

This was to cover service delivery costs.

Combrink said the city was not the only one issuing invoices for call-outs.

"It is not as if we are now suddenly starting to issue invoices... we have been doing this for a few years already."

He said if a fire broke out at a vacant space, the person who called the fire brigade would not be invoiced.

  • Francois - 2012-05-29 23:06

    Does this mean that we can sue them if they do not turn out? Or can we sue them if they can not save a life seeing that we paid for it or can we sue them if a house burn down after being charged for putting it out? Just remember that their is liability claims if you pay for something that was not delivered!!!

      johanvvuuren - 2012-05-29 23:36

      You have a valid point Francois... I hope someone can investigate and provide more details.

      Gogs Lombard - 2012-05-30 01:56

      The Consumer Protection Act now comes into play

      ro.jhb.1 - 2012-05-30 06:49

      I would assume that the consumer act would hold them liable

      Squeegee - 2012-05-30 07:05

      How many lives will be lost and property destroyed because people will not want to be held liable for the cost? Grossly irresponsible. At what point do tax payers receive a service for their tax without additional costs?

      mariuskowie - 2012-05-30 07:23

      Seems like the tow truck operators have new competition, the fire department.

      Marion - 2012-05-30 07:41

      Guess they have to recover the cost of all their name changes somehow. Disgusting. Praise God that I don't live in Tshwane. Surely rates and taxes are used to cover the cost of a service such as a fire engine? If there is an accident they despatch paramedics, ambulance and the fire brigade automatically even if only to wash spilled fuel off the road. Who will pay the costs when there is a fire running rampant in an informal settlement and a multitude of fire engines are despatched? The government? Who will pay when an RDP house catches alight? Gogo with her paltry monthly grant? Born free. Financially raped to death.

      peter.muller.313371 - 2012-05-30 07:57

      It should be noted that all Fire Services runs at a loss, even though it is stipulated that municipalities SHALL provide a Fire and Rescue Service to the communities they serve. The municipal top management however, insists and sort of forces the department management to find ways to make money, hence the charging of calls. Many fire services only charges for calls to house fires, building fires, on the understanding that the payment to the fire department will be part of the insurance payout. Should a household not have insurance, they ask for the charges to be waiver-ed. I my opinion, it should be in line with the state regulations, whereby it is a "service provided", and should not be charged for.

      Marion - 2012-05-30 08:02

      @Bloodblane - don't know where you live, but in Joburg they do not bill for this sort of thing. At least they never used to.

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-05-30 08:05

      Can someone explain to me why we pay taxes? In my book, we have already paid in advance for the service !

      John - 2012-06-02 10:17

      I'm not going to be suprised if tommorow they ask for their money in advance. We all know what is the alternative if you not pay. What's happened to South Africa? I don't know about any other country in the world where Fire Deparment issues invoice for the callout.

  • kobus.muller - 2012-05-29 23:10

    Is our tax money and Municipal taxes now only to pay their salaries. Everywhere we are double charged, what is taxes for now. I remember when i was still at school we were taught that tax pays for your Police, your hospitals , your roads....

  • Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-05-29 23:11

    Talk about many ways to kill a cat,many ways to suck money from poor desperate citizens.We will now even end up paying for to open a case at a police station as we pay for everything nowadays

      roy.wadhams.1 - 2012-05-30 06:00

      This is why people vote for the ANC so that there is more money to steal.

      Hester - 2012-05-30 11:35

      Tankiso we already pay the police to open a case. They charged the company I work for R180 to get a copy of an accident report.

  • cameronjohnprice - 2012-05-29 23:19


  • johanvvuuren - 2012-05-29 23:39

    If the fire department can bill for call-outs, then the police can do the same?

      Murechen - 2012-05-30 09:05

      The cops wouldnt make any money that way, still waiting for them to attend to call a placed a few weeks ago.

  • keith.recore - 2012-05-30 00:17

    who gets charged when in an accident? If I am not at fault, why should I be charged? If my neighbor sets my house on fire, why should I be charged? Surely there would be ability to use common sense when issuing an invoice? Surely this policy should be clarified and perhaps revisited.

  • siliziwem - 2012-05-30 02:09

    where do they get their budget from? Are they not getting it from the municipality? Are we not paying rates to the municipality? That means there must a municipality of fire, with its mayor of fire, so that we can pay both the municipalities seperately...or else we will burn to death!

  • Marius Bloemhof - 2012-05-30 05:53

    So is there actually something left that we pay for with our tax money, that we either get, or dont have to pay for again?

      Nocky - 2012-05-30 06:25

      my sentiments! what is our taxes paying for then?

  • roy.wadhams.1 - 2012-05-30 05:58

    And who pays for the call-outs to "shack areas" or do you make each and everyone pay a bit? This is supposed to be a service which is already paid for by the taxpayer.

      peter.muller.313371 - 2012-05-30 08:36

      Nobody pays for call outs to shack areas, people living in "shack areas" has no fixed address, meaning, there is no address to send the bill to.

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-05-30 06:14

    Will someone please enlighten me as to why we pay rates and taxes? We pay the municipality for electricity,water, sewage and refuse removal. What is left, road maintenance which is shoddy at best. They no longer cut lawns on pavements as this is left to the residents. That leaves top salaries and expense allowances for the fat cats.

  • Gerald - 2012-05-30 06:30

    If I did not call them out I will refuse to pay. They must charge the person who called them. In the past the Fire Dept very seldom was seen at Accidents, now they are always there. If I did not call them out I someone else did I will tell them that they are not needed. In an accident involving two or more vehicles who do they charge. Also if I do call them out and their service is not up to the standard that I expect Consumer Commissioner here I come and Fire Dept can whistle for their call out fee

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-30 06:43

    The banks started with this : Converting operating cost into sales items. Look closely. This is duplication - the aim being enrichment of officials. Examine the budget : vehicle operating cost, material, labour, overhead costs , etc. Where does the money go to? We already pay. How is the R3m "salary" of the municipal manager funded? All governmental services are already paid for by taxes. Municipal services, vehicle /driver licensing, security, education, airports, harbours, roads. (Sasol, Telkom, Eskom , etc. is a story on its own). All these things, over the past few years, have been duplicated or "privatised" in some way or the other, for the benefit of government officials. If our people should march, they should march against this theft. Against this thieving government.

  • Neo Brian Chauke - 2012-05-30 06:58

    soon we will be billed for calling the police.It seems the gvnmnt is hellbnt on making money frn residents.

  • Jeffrey - 2012-05-30 07:01

    So, we have to check our bank statements before we decide whether or not to let our houses burn? If I produce proof that I pay my taxes, will that suffice? Why am I even surprised by this...:(

  • flysouth - 2012-05-30 07:19

    Just what exactly is our tax money supposed to pay for then? Or has the ANC now stolen it all?

  • Lawrence Hans - 2012-05-30 07:20

    so why do we pay taxes? this country is flippen ridiculous!

  • Bonke Siyengo - 2012-05-30 07:22

    Hay bo! Why are we paying taxes and municipality rates? We are taxed to pay for police but we must pay for ADT to do the job, we pay for public health care but must pay medical aids, we pay for roads but now they must be tolled. Now we must also pay for fire brigades!

  • tiaan.fourie - 2012-05-30 07:25

    Was this always the practice? Or is this just another way for our government to squeeze more money out of us? Wasn't the Fire Department always paid out of money set aside by the Finance Minister as part of the budget? Or Taxes and Levies paid by property owners?

      Marion - 2012-05-30 07:51

      Which other municipalities do this?

  • john.lonsdale.5 - 2012-05-30 07:25

    What do we pay rates for?

  • - 2012-05-30 07:40

    What are we paying taxes for, does it not cover \service delivery\. Sounds like someone somewhere is abusing the system, is the fire brigade not part of basic emergency services covered by the exorbitant taxes payed by the citizens who may or may not require the assistance of basic emergency services, what's next are we going to start receiving invoices for other basic services like police etc.?

  • Guy - 2012-05-30 08:18

    I wonder what happens if you don't pay. There is no contract, so there is no liability for payment. If you don't pay will they come and start the fire again? Or will they not come out next time? And I agree that the CPA seems to apply here. What service or product do they provide that you are paying for? If they get to a fire too late and it's already destroyed everything, what can they charge for? Any lawyers involved with the CPA are welcome to provide comment & advice please.

  • Flynn - 2012-05-30 08:23

    Is this another way to loot money? We pay our taxes, the minister of finance allocate a budget to the Fire Department, why are they charging us for a service that supposed to be free? Hell just now, the police, ambulance, etc will soon be jumping on the bandwagon. Our government must ensure that their people lives are a priority. Francios, you make a damn good point

  • Other - 2012-05-30 08:31

    This is pathetic, these services should be part and parcel of the huge taxes we pay. Once again, we have to pay twice for a basic service. This cANCer led government is milking this country dry. VIVA AMAUSELESS VIVA!

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-05-30 08:42

    so tell me again than why are we paying rates and taxes this is a service that we paid for a thousand times over ,the chances that any one person will need it once or twice in their lifetime is slim to none ,so we are actually paying double.will there than be recourse if i am in an accident which is not my fault and did not phone the fire brigade,by the way who pay for the shack fires than they should be sent a double bill because the fire brigade might as well be stationed there

  • Shellerjc - 2012-05-30 09:16

    I think its fair - Hear me out! You are involved in a car accident and are taken to the nearest hospital via ambulance. Do you NOT receive a bill for that? You suffer a heart attach at home and again you are taken to the hospital via...... Ambulance and AGAIN you will receive a bill. So why not the fire department?

      carl.kirstein - 2012-05-30 10:11

      You are absolutly right. But look at most of the posts here... they nearly all start by asking where our taxes and levies we are already paying are going. I personally feel cheated because I do not know where my hard-earned tax money is going, add to that all the curruption reports I hear about daily and then a looming threat of keeping information like this secret. I believe total transparancy of of where our money is going is needed. This WILL of course result in more critisism from communities, but at the same time it will demand clear thinking and planning from the people in power. With great power comes great responsibility...

  • lisa.evansdominick - 2012-05-30 09:33

    what the hell do we pay taxes for, everything is tax to the limit, where does the tax money go??????????????? into the private pockets of the fatcats that have been elected to run this circus of a country we live in!!@!!! Just another way to rip off the poor man in the street so that the fat cats can line their pockets, this is a disgrace...

  • KReddy - 2012-05-30 09:53

    Some people rather die that have to pay the fire department. If someone else calls the department, its not my problem. How did that person know I wanted the FD called to assist me? This Combrinks attitude is very abrasive. And I'm sure now that since its being punted as a \pay service\, the CPA will apply.

  • glenn.marais.7 - 2012-05-30 10:43

    This is enrichment....thats all. I was in the fire service and we sent out charges for businesses(insurance covers this cost) but never for houses or accidents. So who is going to pay when they get sent to townships for assaults and maternities....Once again again some paper jock has been promoted and come up with a bright dumb idea....nothing changes

  • Jon - 2012-05-30 11:09

    please excuse my ignorance,cos im very confused.. i was under the influence that we pay tax for a reason. that tax (as i believe) is to cover the running of the country which includes but not limited to certain services i.e. police, fire, hospitals etc etc. we can not go near a hospital nowadays without taking a second mortgage on our house. and now if their is an emergency where the fire department is needed we have to pay. EISH i am so confused.................... What is next the police will start charging when they come to a house robbery or murder?

  • Senzo Mathebula - 2012-05-30 13:04

    Next up SAPS when Bheki Cele comes back he'll b charging us for his services

      alansmartSnr - 2012-07-17 21:48

      ..@.Senzo Mathebula .. On another note.. had hoped we had seen the last of that corrupt and thieving Bheki Cele. He was just another cadre appointment without having an integrity check like all the fat cats have failed to be subject to. Corrupt persons always fail the test.

  • KLEINRAKER - 2012-05-30 15:26

    Just want to know is each person in the informal settlements also billed when it burens down ? \r\nJust maybe if they are billed they would be more carefull of setting fires ???? \r\nWhat is the cost on fires in the informal settlements ?

  • modizane2 - 2012-05-31 10:14

    This is ridiculous-what are tax paid for if I may ask??!!!-first we have Sanral issues now this-this has to come to a stop-

  • brylea.slawson - 2012-06-05 09:51

    I laughed when I read this...because I had just read this....

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