Low staff morale and lack of infrastructure are some of the issues affecting the department of City of Johannesburg emergency services departments which has in recent times recorded some of the country's worst levels of incapacity.
This was revealed by current MMC of Public Safety, David Tembe who this week conducted a series of inspection visits across the city's 31 fire department stations. The team visited five of the 31 fire stations on the list of the MMC as he continued on his fact-finding mission across the city.
On Tuesday, he said the city had gone from having more than 100 fire engines to just ten, which continues to hinder City of Johannesburg's capacity to fight fire and respond to emergencies in a satisfactory way. The city’s infrastructure continues to show signs of decay and negligence resulting in low productivity and other issues affecting employees of the department.. This bit of news comes after the office of the MMC for Public safety. Tembe noted that staff morale in most of the fire stations was very low and that no leader from the city had conducted such a visit in over 11 years.
Tembe who has worked in the emergency department also said the city’s fire engines had crumbled to near collapse after a loss of more than 90% of its fleet.
“In 2001 when I was still with EMS, we had more than 100 fire engines in the City of Johannesburg, but now we have less than 10 fire engines. Thus is the situation I want to fix as soon as possible. Our residents must feel safe and it is our duty as a multi -party government to ensure that,” he said.
In recent years, the city has relied on fire engines borrowed from other cities such as Ekurhuleni and Tshwane. Having visited stations such as Lonehill and others this week, Tembe says he is looking to visit more stations as he continues his engagement and fact finding mission across all fire departments under his care.
“I received valuable input from dedicated colleagues who make my job rewarding. They have braved the cold to come attend this important meeting. Every job needs a right attitude and this combination, we are on the right track,” he said following a stop at Lonehill Fire station.
Established in 1890, the city of Johannesburg Emergency Services has 31 fire stations across the city’s 7 regions. Over the years however, the department has become a shadow of its former self.
During a meeting at the LoneHill stop, Tembe promised that he and his team will do everything in their power to restore the department to its former glory.
“We are going to explore everything legally to make sure all our fire stations work and provide efficient service. This is our commitment to you as a servant to the people of this city,” he said during his last stop for the day.