The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the Greater Johannesburg is saddened by yet another loss of life of Firefighters in the City of Johannesburg whilst on duty. It has since been confirmed that three workers have died whilst responding to the fire which broke out at a government building in the city centre. These events remind us of another painful event in 2016 when a firefighter died on duty.
Since the new administration came to office in 2016, Johannesburg EMS department literally collapsed in the hands of the administration as a result on the non-filing of critical vacancies and the fact that the department is not fully equipt to deal fire emergencies. The fact that reinforcement has been called from Or Tambo International Airport, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane is a testament that the City of Johannesburg cannot deal with this or any future emergencies and as such endangering the lives and property of the City and its residents.
SAMWU is convinced that the City of Johannesburg should be held responsible and liable for these deaths. The City is well aware of the challenges within the EMS department yet nothing is being done to address them. Workers are therefore entering a slaughterhouse when they respond to fire emergencies within the City.
We salute these brave firefighters for having responded to the call to duty despite being sent to a slaughterhouse. We send our heartfelt condolence to the families of these workers during this difficult time.
We also wish their colleagues strength as they deal with yet another loss of life within the City of Johannesburg EMS. We further wish a speedy recovery to the injured firefighters who are currently recovering in hospital.