City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith has expressed concern at the increase in the number of attacks on city firefighters and infrastructure in the past six months.
“We witnessed one of the most blatant instances when residents of Siqalo attacked firefighters responding to an incident in November last year.
“The delay resulted in 15 structures being destroyed by fire instead of the four that were alight when the fire and rescue service teams arrived,” he said yesterday.
Since January, at least 17 incidents were recorded in Klipheuwel, Khayelitsha, Retreat, Vrygrond, Dunoon, Elsies River, Manenberg, and Nyanga where fire and rescue vehicles were stoned, forcing staff to retreat from the areas.
“However, far more sinister and malicious have been the nearly a dozen incidents – most of them in Imizamo Yethu and Masiphumelele – where crews have had fire hoses cut or taken at knife-point or have been physically attacked while they’ve been on the fire line,” Smith said.
“Organising armed escorts for firefighters meant crime-fighting resources were being pulled out from areas where they were needed most.
“In what universe does anyone prevent a firefighter from doing their job and saving lives and property, unless that person has an agenda?
“Could it be linked to ongoing battles over land and housing, or the disaster relief that the city distributes (we are the only administration in the country to do so)?”