Repair bill for torched Cape Town fire station could be R1m
Damage caused by protesters who torched a Cape Town fire station could cost R1-million to repair‚ the City of Cape Town said on Thursday.
The mayoral committee member for safety and security‚ JP Smith‚ said trauma counselling was being provided for the nine firefighters who were forced to flee Gugulethu fire station shortly before 4.30am.
The fire station would be closed until further notice‚ he said‚ and its crews would be relocated to Mitchells Plain.
“What this means is that the actions of a few have put the lives of thousands of residents at risk‚ as there will now be a delay in the response times to any fire callouts in the Gugulethu area‚” Smith said.
“It doesn’t matter how legitimate the cause‚ we cannot tolerate the wanton destruction and threat to lives that we witnessed this morning.”
Smith said the fire started by protesters destroyed engine bay doors‚ the watchroom and a security gate.
“A security vehicle parked at the entrance to the fire station was torched too‚” he said.
“It will take several days to ascertain the cost of the damage wrought in this callous attack‚ but on the face of it we are potentially looking at as much as R1-million — money that will have to be diverted from another community project as the repair of the fire station is a priority.”
The protestors also targeted the Fezeka municipal offices behind the fire station and torched four vehicles and a storeroom at a nearby electricity depot.
Staff at Lansdowne Road fire station in Khayelitsha were put on alert for possible evacuation amid threats that the protesters were planning to target that facility too.
“I appeal to the South African Police Service to do everything possible to bring those responsible to book‚” said Smith.
It is not clear why the fire station was attacked.