Half the fire engine fleet of the Buffalo City Metro is grounded, mostly due to staff negligence and indifference.
Among the grounded vehicles is a brand new Mercedes-Benz truck which is supposed to service King William’s Town.
The truck’s engine seized after an employee poured water in the oil reservoir after the water gauge showed the truck was running out of coolant.
The vehicle was towed to a local garage on November 24 where 32 litres of water was drained from the engine.
It will cost almost R400 000 to repair, an amount close to the price of a new vehicle. Four other vehicles needing minor repairs had been grounded because the metro had failed to give order numbers authorising repairs.
To repair these four vehicles will cost R100 000. Democratic Alliance councillor Sue Bentley has demanded this misconduct be investigated.
During her visit to different stations as a member of the health and public safety committee, Bentley also discovered that the semi-rural Greenfields town is being served by one solitary Hilux bakkie which has been in operation for 14 years.
At Buffalo Flats, the local fire station had no fire engine at all despite the fact that it has to serve a vast area, including the communities of Buffalo Flats, Fynbos and Vergenoeg and parts Duncan Village township.
“The Buffalo City Metro is risking lives by not repairing and maintaining its fire-fighting engines,” said Bentley.
The DA has submitted questions to the Buffalo City Council regarding the dysfunctional state of the fire department and has vowed to pursue the matter further