The helmets belonged to three men who shouldn’t have died.
Simphiwe Moropane, 28, Khathutselo Muedi, 37, and Mduduzi Ndlovu, 40, will not fight another fire again.
The three brave firefighters perished in the fire at the Bank of Lisbon building, right next to our offices in downtown Joburg, on Wednesday.
The building where they died had been flagged as a death trap for a long time, but nothing was done to make sure nobody ever works there again.
Yesterday when some of us got to work, the fire had reignited on the 16th floor. As a precautionary measure, we asked staff to vacate our building and work from home.
We couldn’t take any chances.
Neither could the ANC, who are opposite us. They also evacuated their headquarters, Luthuli House.
The previous 24 hours had been difficult for many of us who work around here, with some of our colleagues, who witnessed a firefighter fall to his death, seeking counselling.
And as the mop-up operation begins at the building, which houses three provincial government departments, the deaths of the three firefighters must not be in vain. The fire is out now, but we must up the heat on the politicians to provide answers on why lives are risked on buildings such as this one. The politicians know this, but they are too busy looking after their own interests to care.
Yesterday they went into public relations mode, apportioning blame, while three families started preparing to bury their loved ones.
I heard Premier David Makhura say: “I am more than ashamed when there are lives lost.”
I am sure he said the same when Life Esidimeni happened. The shame must translate into action.