Gauteng municipalities struggling with fire trucks: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Only 104 of 205 fire trucks required in Gauteng are operational, says minister

30 March 2021 - 13:48
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. File photo.
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. File photo.
Image: GCIS

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says Gauteng municipalities are operating with nearly half of the required fire trucks.

Responding to a DA question in parliament, Dlamini-Zuma said Gauteng municipalities need 205 fire trucks but only have 104.

Dlamini-Zuma said Sedibeng district doesn't have any fire trucks at all, while only six of Johannesburg's 21 trucks are operational.

Last month, Johannesburg metro confirmed to Sunday Times Daily that it has between four and seven operational fire engines to service the city — and due to ongoing litigation into the procurement of 28 fire trucks, worth more than R172m, is unable to procure more.

The city, which has more than 1.4 million households, 5.5 million people and is spread over 1,645km2, now has to turn to neighbouring metros for assistance, City of Johannesburg spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase said.

A budget of R200m was set aside by the city in the current financial year for the supply, delivery and maintenance of additional fire trucks, he said.

Now everything is on hold pending the outcome of the court case. One of the losing bidders approached the high court in Johannesburg in 2019, asking for the winning contract, worth more than R500m, to be set aside. The losing bidders are arguing that there were tender irregularities in the bidding process.

As an interim measure, Ndamase said the city has in place a memorandum of understanding with Ekurhuleni and Tshwane for support and assistance in cases of major fire emergencies, “where the city’s available resources may be inadequate to respond”.

However, Dlamini-Zuma also didn't paint a good picture of Ekurhuleni, saying the metro only has 57 fire trucks that are operational out of 108.

Tshwane has 45 but only 26 are operational.

Ekurhuleni spent R5.7m on fire-fighting equipment in the 2019/20 financial year and more than R27.6m in the previous financial year.

Tshwane has spent more than R9.5m on fire-fighting equipment in the two years.

She said the West Rand Ddistrict only has eight operational trucks, out of 14.

Dlamini-Zuma told parliament that the bankrupt Amathole district municipality only has six operational fire trucks out of the required 23, while in Nelson Mandela Bay 10 of their 44 trucks are not operational.

Other provinces, according to Dlamini-Zuma, have all their trucks in place except for smaller municipalities in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Dlamini-Zuma said the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) has noted that provinces like the Free State, the Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga are without dedicated and full-time capacity for the co-ordination of fire services.

“The NDMC is concerned about effects of the weak institutional capacity in these provinces on effective national co-ordination of fire services' work and on the provision of support to municipalities respectively.”

While the firefighting function is performed by all the metros, Dlamini-Zuma said there are some category B and C municipalities without the authority to render this service.

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