Johannesburg – A City of Joburg contractor is working feverishly to meet the metro’s deadline of delivering 29 urgently required fire engines.

Early last year, Boksburg- based firefighting equipment manufacturer Fire Raiders was awarded a R190 million contract to purchase, supply and deliver the specialised emergency fire and rescue vehicles.

Almost a year later, the vehicles are yet to be delivered.

The metro has since late 2015 been hamstrung by a shortage of fire engines across the city.

The dire state of the department’s fleet was highlighted last month when a fire truck overturned and collided with four vehicles due to an alleged mechanical malfunction. The exact cause of the accident, however, is still being investigated.

MMC for public safety Michael Sun, responding to a Star query, said the reason for the delay in the delivery was chiefly due to Fire Raiders being given the appointment letter in May.

However, the 12-month-long contract is understood to have been awarded between January and March last year.

Sun said the contract was for the “design plan, manufacture, equip, test, commissioning and delivery” of the 29 fire rescue vehicles. Thereafter, a project plan was developed by the service provider to manufacture the specialised vehicles.

The order includes:

Six P410 CP31 Scania pumpers

Six P360 CP28 Scania pumpers

Eleven 1828 Mercedes-Benz pumpers

Six Pierce PUC pumpers

Based on the project plan, the vehicles are to be delivered in batches, Sun said.

The first batch of one P410 CP31 and four P360 28s was set to be delivered on the last day of this month, he said.

At the end of March, a further five would be sent to fire stations, ready to put out fires. The rest of the vehicles, Sun added, would be delivered monthly until the end of July.

The Star requested a cost breakdown of each of the vehicles, but Sun said the cost of the vehicles varied.

In February last year, The Star reported how the city’s fire department was crippled by the shortage of command vehicles. The city’s 2014/15 annual financial report indicated that 90 fire engines had been out of service – and being repaired in garages – due to breakdowns. About 30 of these were back in operation in October last year.

“We got 29 fire trucks back from workshops and back in operative duty in just a month’s time. However, the maintenance of the fleet is a continuous expense, therefore it is difficult to give a precise figure for each vehicle,” Sun said.

According to the city’s 2015/16 annual report, the fire department had 1 201 firefighters, 66 platoon commanders, 22 station commanders, five divisional chiefs, a deputy director and a director.

The Star