By Ina Cilliers MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Merafong:
Merafong local municipality has only one functioning fire truck to service a population of 198 000 residents when it should have four fully operational at all times.
This was revealed during an oversight visit conducted at the Carletonville fire station. It was also established that the Khutsong and Fochville fire stations have no operational firefighting equipment.
The terminal decline has been exacerbated by the fact that no drills, ongoing training or fire prevention activities have been taking place.
This critically important function was placed under the care of the West Rand District Municipality a few years ago, and fire trucks and EMS are supposed to be stationed in Carletonville, Fochville and Khutsong.
Currently, Khutsong stands empty while Fochville only has one ambulance.
Added to this is that there are no markings on fire hydrants nor fire hydrant maps available. When they are located, EMS staff cannot test hydrants due to a lack of equipment and diesel.
Staff have not been issued new uniforms for three years. This includes bunker gear, fire helmets and boots.
Morale is at an all-time low.
Given the fact that Merafong loses more than 52% of its water every month, both the district and the local municipalities have been grossly negligent by allowing emergency services to decline to such a state where thousands of residents have been placed in danger.
Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Jacob Mamabolo, must intervene and ensure that those responsible for the decline are to be held accountable, and that the situation is resolved as soon as possible.