Firefighters plead for protection from criminals
Hundreds of firefighters gathered at Olifantsfontein fire station in Ekurhuleni on Tuesday morning to mark International Firefighters’ Day.
The day is observed to celebrate and honour firefighters globally for being heroes every day.
The group at Olifantsfontein took the opportunity to highlight the problems they face while on duty, including attacks in some communities. They held placards pleading for protection.
Their plea comes on the back of recent reports of attacks on paramedics and firefighters across the country when they attend to calls.
The day was also used to pay tribute to the three firefighters who lost their lives while battling a fire that raged for two days at the Bank of Lisbon building in Johannesburg in 2018.`
Family members of the three fallen heroes, Simphiwe Moropane, Mduduzi Ndlovu and Khathutshelo Muedi, were also in attendance.
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Lebogang Maile said on this day the country and the world remembers and celebrates the bravery and selflessness of firefighters.
In recent weeks firefighters had to battle fierce fires at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg and at the University of Cape Town.
“We also commemorate the three heroes who died at the Bank of Lisbon building extinguishing a fire that resulted in them losing their lives,” said Maile.
He said he wanted to send out a strong message to criminals who attack firefighters and paramedics in their line of duty and prevent them doing their jobs.
“We as government want to say we will not tolerate the criminality against these heroes. We urge all municipalities to beef up security for all firefighters and paramedic personnel and to ensure their safety at all times.”
Maile said emergency services in the county attend to about 7,000 incidents every day, saving lives and rescuing patients and individuals.