Residents left to watch how Matjhabeng burns down

Issued by Dr Igor Scheurkogel – DA Caucus Leader Matjhabeng Local Municipality
28 Nov 2023 in Press Statements

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Cllr Igor Scheurkogel and Sesotho by Karabo Khakhau MP.

No proactive steps have been taken to get the Matjhabeng Local Municipalities Fire Brigade to meet the required standard prescribed by SANS 10090, after acknowledgement by the Municipal Manager (MM) of failings in this regard.

On Tuesday 21 November the residents of 11 Watermeyer Street, Jan Cillerspark had to watch how their house burned down because the Matjhabeng Fire Brigade showed up at the burning house twice with an empty fire truck. Additionally, on 27 November 55 Erleigh Boulevard, Odendaalsrus experienced the same disastrous fate watching their house burn down because the fire truck arrived with a half tank of water. Fortunately, a private company Hazquip had to extinguish the fire.

According to the MM’s response to DA questions in the council about the fire brigade: “With the Fire Services current level of staffing and resources, at least 70% of the Matjhabeng service area and an almost comparable percentage of the community do not have adequate access to fire and emergency services.”

The Fire Services department’s dysfunctionality is a direct result of cadre deployment putting the lives of residents at risk 24/7. The response of the MM, clearly states if you do not have the financial means to have private medical cover or the finances to contact a private service provider you will not be helped. Therefore those residents who are unemployed or do not have the financial means to get assistance will be left out on the street like the residents of 11 Watermeyer.

The financial mismanagement of the municipality has resulted in Vaal Central’s water supply being cut off nightly, leaving the fire department without the much-needed water to fight fires.

Ward Councillor René Steyn has been working around the clock to gather food and supplies to assist the family in need. We call on the community to assist or donate to the family and contact Cllr Steyn to connect with the family.

We will write to the Free State Department of Cooperative Governance to intervene and ensure assistance from the provincial government and the Lejweleputswa District Municipality to support the failing Matjhabeng Municipality Fire Brigade.