There is a severe problem in Gauteng. Recently, it came to light there is an issue of fire truck delays in Johannesburg. SowetanLIVE reports that recent fire tragedies have highlighted the poor state of the city’s fire service. It is struggling with under-resourcing and a severe shortage of fire engines. A tragic incident has further amplified these concerns we reported last week, where two children aged one and five tragically lost their lives in a fire that engulfed their bedroom in Snake Park in Soweto.
Bongani Makhubo, the children’s grandfather, fought the blaze alone for approximately 40 minutes using a bucket of water in a desperate attempt to save their lives. Makhubo revealed that it took between 30 and 45 minutes for firefighters to arrive at the scene, highlighting the delayed response.
The need for substantial fire engines poses a significant challenge for the city’s fire services, hindering their ability to respond promptly to emergencies. With approximately 40 fire trucks lacking, neighbouring fire stations must share the resources to handle fire incidents.
Addressing the plight that plagues the fire service falls under the responsibility of the city’s public safety department, led by MMC Mgcini Tshwaku. In a previous statement to this publication, Tshwaku mentioned that they have decided to re-advertise the tender for new fire engines. However, as the city awaits the resolution of the fire truck delays in Johannesburg, the question arises: who will ensure a fire-safe environment for the citizens of Joburg if the fire service remains incapable of protecting them from devastating fires this winter?
There have previously been cautions that the delays in obtaining new fire engines for the city could have catastrophic consequences, particularly for vulnerable communities. It is essential to exercise due diligence when procuring the much-needed fire trucks. However, residents should prioritise fire safety to prevent further tragedies and loss of lives.
As the authorities make their decisions, they must prioritise the safety of the less fortunate citizens of Joburg, understanding that their well-being should be a primary consideration.
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