Firefighter who shot his commander is jailed
A City of Johannesburg firefighter who killed his station commander during an altercation over a disciplinary process has been sentenced to a prison term of 12 years.
Both were attached to the Orange Farm Fire Station.
Station Commander Lesedi Mphatswe‚ a 21-year veteran who had also served in Randburg and Jabulani‚ amongst other areas‚ was shot dead while trying to serve a disciplinary letter to the firefighter at his home in Vanderbijlpark‚ south of Johannesburg.
The firefighter was sentenced by the Vanderbijlpark Magistrate's Court on Tuesday this week‚ Public Safety MMC Michael Sun said in a statement on Thursday. He did not name the now-convicted man.
Sun said the Department of Public Safety appreciated finality in the case. "The incident had sparked controversy in the City and affected the morale amongst colleagues‚" he noted. "The Department now needs to focus on service delivery to the residents‚ especially in the emergency services.at the same time‚ we must never overlook the well-being of our firefighters and paramedics as they are always in the forefront of danger when saving lives."
EMS spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said: "As an organisation‚ we hope that this latest development will firstly help the family of the deceased station commander to find closure‚ our staff members in the Emergency Management Services family to heal and forge forward as one in our efforts to serve the residents of the City of Johannesburg."
The convicted shooter was amongst five firefighters who were suspended for leading a work-to-rule protest demanding better working conditions including demands for management to address a shortage of equipment. The death of firefighters Daniel Zwane‚ 51‚ and Michael Letsosa‚ 34‚ in a blaze earlier that year had sparked the tension within the department.
The City's tribute to Commander Mphatswe:
The Gauteng ANC shared photographs of the commander's funeral service here: