WATCH: South Africa - eSwatini - Mozambique border town to beef up emergency response capacity

Firefighters parading during their commemoration on Thursday in Jozini. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Firefighters parading during their commemoration on Thursday in Jozini. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Published May 5, 2023


Jozini - The border town of Jozini in northern KwaZulu-Natal says it has prioritised increasing its emergency response capacity following a surge in road accidents along its major roads.

The municipality also says the surge in drowning incidents in its dams and rivers, as well as farm fires and other fire incidents has made this even more urgent.

This was revealed by the mayor of the IFP-run Jozini local municipality, Mfananaye Mathe on Thursday during the commemoration of the annual firefighters day.

The commemoration for the Umkhanyakude district was held in Jozini.

During the annual celebration held on May 4, firefighters lamented the lack of working equipment and funds, amid a sudden surge in emergency incidents in the entire district.

Among the contributing factors cited has been a rise in the number of drunk drivers along the N2 leading to eSwatini and Mpumalanga province and the one leading to the Farazella border gate leading to Mozambique.

Also contributing to the incidents have been people swimming in dams and later drowning.

The municipality is largely agricultural where sugar cane is the main crop and is prone to fire.

"Jozini is located along the N2 where there are frequent accidents, also, Jozini is full of sugar cane farms which are prone to fires.

"So, we need to beef up our firefighting capacity and be prepared for any of these eventualities.

"Our challenge is that we have a shortage of staff and funds, but we will prioritise this in our budget," Mathe said.

He said they intend to add new fire stations in the district, and improve the existing, but ill-equipped one in central Jozini.

Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

"We have to ensure that all our areas are covered so that our emergency and rescue teams respond on time," Mathe added.

Speaking on behalf of Umkhanyakude firefighters, Samuel Khumalo, pleaded with authorities to work to improve the welfare of their emergency personnel.

"Our equipment is not enough and we are understaffed," he said.

Nxumalo also echoed Mathe, saying there is a need to build more fire stations in the district in order to keep up with demand.

[email protected]

Current Affairs