The Joburg Emergency Services is facing a possible disastrous winter season with only eight fire engines at their disposal to service the whole of Joburg. Picture: Timothy Bernard
The Joburg Emergency Services is facing a possible disastrous winter season with only eight fire engines at their disposal to service the whole of Joburg. Picture: Timothy Bernard

Disastrous winter looms for residents as Joburg only has 8 fire engines

By Gift Tlou Time of article published May 29, 2020

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City of Joburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) are still without enough fire engines while the R500million truck tender awarded to a service provider last year for their procurement is being contested by losing service providers in court.

This has left the EMS facing a possible disastrous winter season with only eight fire engines at their disposal to service the whole of Joburg.

EMS has been vocal about its lack of fire trucks for emergency responses.

The city’s woes of procuring adequate fire trucks are far from over with the EMS department still waiting for the completion of a court battle between manufacturing companies.

This comes after the EMS advertised a tender in 2018, which was aimed at appointing a service for manufacturing, supply, delivery, maintenance, repair and support services of fire and rescue vehicles.

According to Joburg’s acting EMS chief Rapulane Monageng, in March last year, the service provider recommended for the award of the tender withdrew from the process.

With the service provider being the only one which met the minimum requirements of the evaluation criteria, the city decided to cancel the process.

As pressure of securing fire and rescue vehicles mounted, the city embarked on an emergency procurement process in May last year.

A service provider, TFM Industries, was appointed in July. During the delivery process of the first category of vehicles (15 grass firefighting vehicles) and four (05) specialised rescue vehicles, the procurement process was challenged in court and interdicted by other service providers.

It is understood that the other service providers want the tender to be declared unlawful and unconstitutional since the procurement process was done urgently.

“Court proceedings are ongoing and due to the current Covid-19 regulations, it is not yet known as to when the process will be concluded,” Monageng said.

He conceded that the city has been faced with an uphill battle especially with winter approaching.

“With the current estimated population of 5.7million within the City of Joburg over the geographical area of 1645km², the City of Joburg’s EMS currently operates 29 fire stations,” Monageng said.

“The current available fleet has been strategically positioned to mitigate the identified high risks area as per our risk matrix .”

Former public safety MMC Michael Sun visited Olifantsfontein plantation where the rescue vehicles were being manufactured by TFM Industries.

“The city had a look at a list of manufactures and their qualities and then they picked TFM Industries. This was an emergency procurement process, which was not advertised like other tenders,” he said.

TFM group chief executive Laurence Savage said it managed to deliver the first category of rescue vehicles within three months.

“This is frustrating, TFM as the second respondent in this matter has now been vilified by its competitors as a consequence of its willingness to assist the City in an emergency.”

Savage added that it has completed eight more fire rescue vehicles valued at R60million, which are ready to be released to the city, while 12 remaining vehicles with a contract value of R75m are in various stages of completion at TFM’s factories in Olifantsfontein and Durban.

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