National 21.4.2017 10:26 am

Ekurhuleni to spend R94m on disaster management efforts

File picture

File picture

Community safety MEC Dan Plato is also looking for solutions to paramedics under attack in some areas.

The City of Ekurhuleni should soon be better equipped to deal with emergencies in the region after it announced it would spend R94 million in improving its capacity to deal with such situations.

Firefighting, rescue operations, ambulances and primary response units activities are the areas in which the budgeted funds will go in a bid to improve the City’s disaster management capabilities.

In a statement issued by Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality spokesperson Themba Gadebe, the city planned to construct six new fire stations in the next five years, especially in those areas that did not have such facilities, and old fire stations in the region would also be revamped and upgraded.

A disaster management operation in Ekurhuleni was thrust into the spotlight in March after a five-year-old boy fell down an open mine shaft in the Ekurhuleni informal settlement. Efforts by Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services, the department of mineral resources, Mine Rescue Services and the SA National Defence Force came to no avail in attempting to retrieve the little boy’s body, as conditions posed many challenges.

READ MORE: Jerusalem residents to be moved after child falls into mineshaft

In July last year, a tornado ripped through Tembisa, leaving an estimated 400 residents displaced. Other areas damaged by the storm included 100 shacks and 20 houses in Hospitalview in Ekurhuleni.

READ MORE: 400 displaced after Tembisa tornado

Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina said: “We aim to curb the perishing of properties to fires and floods, especially in the informal settlements.

“We must also constantly improve our ability to respond timeously and effectively to such problems and limit the loss of lives and property, especially among the most vulnerable of our people.”

Meanwhile, the challenges confronting emergency medical services (EMS) in the Western Cape made headlines on Thursday after Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato reportedly said it would be too expensive to set up so-called safety kiosks in which EMS staff who were under attack in dangerous areas would be escorted by private security.

Plato had reportedly initially promised this in an interview with Carte Blanche.

This is according to IOL, which further reports that Plato had said he was talking to various stakeholders about how to protect paramedics.

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