Historic school gutted after town fails to pay for fire engine repairs
The municipality wasn't able to supply water to its one remaining fire engine, which stood helpless in the face of the blaze.
The historic Sterkstroom High School in the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality was completely gutted by fire following suspected arson in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Police in the Eastern Cape confirmed the fire, saying a case of arson was under investigation. They said the report about the fire outbreak came at around 1am but it was too late to catch any culprit when the police arrived. Police spokesperson Namhla Mdleleni gave no further details about the incident.
It’s reported that firefighters were called to the scene but by the time the only fire engine arrived, it could not help because the fire hydrants were dry. Even after water was finally put on by Chris Hani district officials after a few attempts, the water pressure was too weak to have any effect and the school building was completely destroyed.
The second fire engine at the municipality was standing idle after being repaired but not paid for by the Enoch Mgijima council.
DA councillor at the municipality Lindy Haggard said the second truck could only be released once the money owed, amounting to R29,000, was paid.
The party’s Eastern Cape premier candidate and provincial leader, Nqaba Bhanga, blamed the situation on ANC corruption.
Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality was established by the amalgamation of Tsolwana Local Municipality, Inkwanca Local Municipality and Lukhanji Local Municipality on 3 August 2016.
The main town used to be called Queenstown, but is now called Komani.