Gugulethu Fire Station closed again after violent protesters target firefighters

Published Jun 14, 2019


Cape Town - Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith has condemned the violent attack on a municipal office and fire station in Gugulethu.

"We are disgusted by the violent attack on community facilities in Gugulethu overnight. Vandals set alight a car and a carport at the Fezeka Municipal Office next to the fire station.

"Firefighters extinguished the fire, but soon became targets themselves, when the group started hurling stones at their building, causing damage to the bay doors," Smith said.

The city’s Chief Fire Officer has suspended operations at the Gugulethu Fire Station as a result.

"These facilities serve the community and an attack on it, is a direct attack on the community.

"The thugs behind the destruction will argue that their actions were done in protest, but it is immaterial, because there can be no justification for the ongoing damage and vandalism of city infrastructure," Smith said.

"These scenes are becoming all too common and it is completely unacceptable."

Less than a year ago, the Gugulethu Fire Station was targeted in similar fashion, resulting in a near six-month closure to repair damages; traumatized staff and a community deprived of an essential service.

Following this latest incident, staff have again been redeployed to other fire stations amid safety concerns and until the situation calms down, Smith said.

"What this means is that any request for a firefighting response in Gugulethu and surrounds will take far longer, as there are no resources operating from the local fire station until further notice.

"The city calls on the community to help identify the thugs who are robbing them of this essential service.

"We are aware that numerous arrests were made in relation to this protest and I have requested that the Safety and Security Investigative Unit liaises with the South African Police Service, to convey the message that the city will oppose bail for those arrested," Smith said.

Smith said that the Fire and Rescue Service continually delivers good service to the communities, yet there are those who choose to attack for reasons which have nothing to do with them.

"Unless this sickening trend comes to a halt, it will become increasingly difficult for our staff to do their jobs.

"They are here to protect lives and not to be subjected to such unfair and criminal acts." he said.

Cape Argus