The DA in the Lekwa municipality has raised an alarm about the unavailability of fire engines in Mpumalanga’s worst performing municipality.
DA councillor Sithi Silosini says 15 homes were engulfed by fire recently and no-one helped anybody as the municipality no longer has firetrucks due to the alleged corruption of ANC leaders who have left the municipal coffers dry while busy with self-enrichment.
The area has about 133 000 residents, with 30 firefighters employed by the municipality’s disaster management.
013NEWS also learnt mayor Linda Dhlamini and ANC pals in the Gert Sibande district blew over R30 million pretending to be fixing storm water drains in the Standerton area.
Silosini said what used to be one of South Africa’s best municipalities has now gone to waste, with elected officials caring only for what goes to their pockets.
For close to a year now no fire engines – firefighters simply get paid for nothing, watching homes being engulfed flames with no equipment with which to respond, wholly due to financial mismanagement.
The Standerton fire station said in March 2020 a number of 5 homes caught fire and were not able to help.
In April 2020, the problem occurred again – with 6 homes burning and another 4 burning in May.
“All of these houses were extinguished with a water tanker and the Skid unit,” Silosini said.
“A 3-bedroom house in Tutukani was not attended to because there was no fire engine nor a water tanker,” he said.
Silosini said a tender was put out to have a private company provide fire fighting services in the area, but a lack of funds has forced the municipality not to continue with the contract.
On 24 January 2020, the municipality took a resolution to buy new fire engines but 5 months later there is still nothing in sight that looks like a new fire engine.
In the 2017/18 financial period, the municipality operated at a net deficit of R361 million and in the current financial period the municipality is projected to rake in a fiscal deficit of R407 million.
Silosini said between July 2019 and January 2020, a number of 20 homes were destroyed beyond repair by fire due to lack of municipal fire engines.
He said they were calling on co-operative governance MEC Mandla Msibi to intervene in the crippled municipality.
(edited by ZK)
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