The City of Cape Town has confirmed that costs to refurbish the Gugulethu Fire Station could potentially amount to R1 million. In a statement released on Thursday, the City said it will take several days to assess the damage caused to the station in protest action at 04h25 on Thursday morning. According to police, protesters were demanding access to electricity and water. Firefighters were forced to vacate the premises to the drill yard after the building was set alight. They remained there until Metro Police and Law Enforcement officers had dispersed the protestors.
Mayco member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, explained that the costs to refurbish the station could potentially amount to R1 million; money that he said will have to be diverted from another community project.
“The engine bay doors, watch-room and security entrance gate were destroyed in the incident. A security vehicle parked at the entrance to the fire station was torched too.
“In addition, protestors also targeted the Fezeka municipal offices behind the fire station and torched four vehicles and a storeroom at the local electricity depot. Staff at the Lansdowne Road fire station in Khayelitsha were also put on alert for possible evacuation amid threats that the protestors were planning to target that facility too,” he stated.
Smith said the City will be providing counselling to the affected firefighters and staff.
“The Gugulethu fire station is closed until further notice. Our fire crews will be based at the Mitchells Plain fire station and will dispatch from there.”
He urged members of the public to refrain from violence and “wanton destruction” when taking their demands to the streets.
“What this means is that the actions of a few have put the lives of thousands of residents at risk, as there will now be a delay in the response times to any fire call-outs in the Gugulethu area.”
Anyone with information on the incident is requested to contact SAPS or the City’s Public Emergence Communication Centre on 107 from a landline or (021) 480-7700 from a cellphone.