Pretoria - The City of Tshwane’s Emergency Services cannot utilise the new multimillion-rand Mamelodi Fire Station until it receives an occupancy certificate.
According to the City, the certificate will be issued after construction compliance matters, which the contractor is attending to, have been completed. The provincial government will inspect the facility and confirm if it is safe and ready for use.
Spokesperson and deputy chief Roland Hendricks told the Pretoria News that was the reason why the building remained a white elephant.
Residents of Mamelodi had accused the department of wasting R62 million on a facility that remained empty long after it had been completed.
Patrick Paya said it was painful to pass the new fire station daily and then read about emergency situations.
“We really do not understand why the City would spend so much money to build a fire station that cannot help people. I think sometimes the people in decision-making positions forget their decisions affect real people on the ground.
“We have lost people and families in informal settlements like Alaska, and the station was supposed to be a response to that. If they continue this delay even the security there is not actually enough to keep criminals out.”
Other residents said the fire station was costing the City money because of theft and vandalism.
Hendricks said: “The Mamelodi Fire Station was unveiled on October 28 last year by Mayor Randall Williams. A final handover and the operationalisation of the station will be effected once an occupancy certificate has been issued.
“Final inspections by various City departments are being conducted to secure the occupancy certificate. The station may only be occupied once an occupancy certificate is issued. The station must therefore be considered as not yet completed.
“The operationalisation of Mamelodi Fire Station will be effected once the final handover by the professional agent is done and the occupancy certificate issued, allowing the department to occupy the building.”
Hendricks said this did not mean that the department was not committed or capacitated to respond to emergencies closest to the station.