The Safety and Security Directorate’s annual statistics for the 2017/18 financial year released on Monday highlighted the numerous incidents in the past 12 months where City staff and infrastructure were targeted.
At the weekend, 14 firefighters were attacked while responding to a fire in Wallacedene, an informal housing settlement in Kraaifontein. The Metro Police Department noted a 180% increase in attacks on staff year-on-year, from 21 in 2016/17 to 59 in 2017/18.
This has led to the City putting in place plans for the protection of firefighters. Chief Fire Officer Ian Schnetler said a female firefighter had suffered a hairline fracture to her arm after she was struck with a spade and wrestled to the ground by “young” Wallacedene residents, News24 reported.
“We are communicating with metro police and SAPS for protection as firefighters are unarmed,” he said.
Unfortunately we can’t cater for every eventuality. This makes it very difficult for us to protect communities who need help.”
Schnetler said there would be controlled public access to fire stations after the Gugulethu fire station was torched in July, causing extensive damage.
Firefighters would now make use of body cameras and protective smash-and-grab film would be fitted to fire vehicles, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said