Cape Town – The city’s fire and rescue services have spoken out on the wave of violent and verbal attacks on their staff that are impacting their ability to provide an efficient service.
Spokeswoman Jermaine Carelse said the ministry wanted to set the record straight and make it known that it was not the enemy.
Carelse said that while the department had not spoken out on the attacks, other than condemning them as they occurred, it wanted to set the record straight on why its staff sometimes need to leave incident scenes.
“Attacks on our staff are nothing new. However, over the years criminals have become more daring and have often taken advantage of incidents where firefighters are sent to help the real residents.
“On several occasions our officers have been robbed at gunpoint, assaulted in emergencies, and their equipment damaged and stolen.
“What the public may not know is the negative impact these attacks have on our firefighters. Many of them have had to undergo trauma counseling over time as a result of these attacks, yet they are returning to work and continue to serve local communities.
“To us, the communities we serve are important, and we would never think of stopping the work we do, which is why we urge the public to report this criminal activity and eliminate the criminals,” said Carelse.
Brackenfell Platoon Commander Granville Mathias, who survived an attack and a robbery in Wallacedene, recounted the incident at Cape Argus, recounting how he was ambushed as he attempted to locate a structure in fire and hit in the face with the butt of a gun.
“It happened last year, in November. I still remember the details, and talking about it helps me heal, the incident was traumatic for both me and my partner.
“However, since this happened, we have received the help and support of a brigadier from the Kraaifontein police station. She is committed to always accompanying us when we are sent to the community, and that has been a great help.
I think that’s more of what we need, people who come on board and work with us to ensure not only our safety, but theirs as well, ”said Mathias.
Attacks on Cape Town firefighters impact ability to provide efficient service
SourceAttacks on Cape Town firefighters impact ability to provide efficient service