Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
5 Jul 2019
4:09 pm

Mashaba clarifies fire truck shortage in Joburg

Citizen Reporter

Mashaba claims the city has a plan which is expected to result in all fire stations receiving new fire engines.

Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba. Picture: Dimpho Maja/ AfricanNewsAgency (ANA)

Twelve fire engines remain to service Johannesburg, five of those are booked in for repairs, Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba said as he confirmed a dire shortage of resources. This follows reports that the city only had six fire engines to service the city.

Seven fire engines are currently operational, and the other five are expected back from repairs in the next few weeks.  Mashaba issued a statement to combat the revelation that the city was underprepared for a major fire disaster. He said the city had made attempts to ensure the old fleet was repaired and serviced.

“We were successful at the time and managed to put 29 fire engines back into service with the City’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) team. However, due to the age and conditions of our inherited fire engine fleet, the vehicles remained prone to break down.”

The seven operational trucks are stretched between six districts in the city. In the event of a fire, should a fire station not have an available fire engine, the next available fire station would provide support.

A full investigation into the state of affairs has been launched by the mayor who also suspects “sabotage.”

Around 29 new fire engines were scheduled to be received as per a multi-party government contract which the city inherited in 2015.

“Regrettably, it was subsequently discovered that their appointment was tainted with allegations of fraud and corruption, and that the tender was awarded on the basis of forged Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) documents. Indeed, it is this same contract, entered into by the previous administration, which the president announced a Special Investigation Unit investigation into.

“As a result of the supplier not able to meet its contractual obligations as a result of it going into business rescue, and given the fraudulent tender process, the City was left with no option but to cancel the R161 million contract for the provision of fire engines.”

The city could only salvage five new and two refurbished fire engines from the supplier by strictly adhering to the supply chain regulations, which were received last year.

The city then initiated a new procurement process, or Fire Engine Replacement Program (FERP).

“Despite an initial setback in this process, with a preferred supplier withdrawing from the tender process, the FERP is currently in the process of being finalised and is expected to be concluded in the coming days. This will allow the city to place an order for 92 additional EMS vehicles, including fire and rescue vehicles, delivery of which will commence in the coming weeks.

“This will in turn result in 30 fire stations in the city each receiving a new engine.

“Until these new vehicles are delivered, we will continue to ensure that the ones in workshops are repaired and returned to operation.

“We also want to urge our residents to call the correct number when reporting fire or other emergencies as it will help us to despatch the correct resources as quickly as possible.”

The city advised community members to contact the call center on 011 375 5911 or 10177 when reporting a fire.

(Compiled by Gopolang Molok0)

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