By Cllr Sue Bentley, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality:
Today, the Greenfields Fire Station remains closed due to a severe shortage of firefighting trucks while its staff have been deployed to other fire stations across the city.
Greenfields Fire Station is responsible for the area to the west of East London comprising of the six Ncerha villages, numerous coastal hamlets and many informal settlement areas. Additionally, Greenfields Fire Station is the closest fire station to the Airport, providing emergency backup to ACSA’s firefighting team in the event of a catastrophe.
It is therefore critical that the Greenfields Fire Station is properly equipped and responsive to any fire callouts at all times. The dedicated response time of 22 minutes to affected areas promised by BCMM means that fire engines deployed from other stations would be woefully late, with disastrous consequences.
BCMM is the only city in South Africa to charge their residents a monthly ‘Fire Levy’ of R42.00 per month on their services account without improving the firefighting capabilities of the Metro.
As a member of the Health and Public Safety portfolio committee, I will be meeting with our Acting Director, Mr Steve Terwin, and the head of BCMM Fire Department, Mr Thembile Thompson, to ensure that Greenfields Fire Station is open and has the necessary equipment to function. I will also conduct regular oversight visits to this fire station to ensure its functional capacity is adequate to the community.
The people of BCMM deserve to be treated fairly by having a fully functioning fire service and the opportunity to enjoy their city which is free from safety hazards.