EFF opens murder case against Gauteng MECs over firefighters’ deaths

The Gauteng chair of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Mandisa Mashego, said the party has opened a case of murder against human settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa, health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, infrastructure development MEC Jacob Mamabolo and Premier David Makhura over the deaths of three firefighters.

Mashego announced the news at the memorial service for Simphiwe Moropane (28), Mduduzi Ndlovu (40), and Khathutshelo Muedi (37).

Several trade unions and political parties were late additions to the programme for the memorial service which was held at the Ellis Park Arena.

Trade unions and various political parties criticised the emergency medical services (EMS) management and government for the deaths of the three firefighters.

“Workers lives must be employers priorities,” general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions Zwelinzima Vavi said during the memorial service for the three firefighters who died last week fighting a blaze at the Bank of Lisbon building in the Johannesburg CBD.

“Employees lives must always be a priority to employers. Lives must never be lost because of incompetence and negligence,” Vavi said.

He warned those responsible for the incident saying, “we are coming for you… we are going to sue you”.

Firefighters left after the head of the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Demawusa), Terrence Kgaffe, had addressed them.

Firefighters said they were only interested in what Kgaffe had to say because “only he really represents us”.

Kgaffe called for a list of all the buildings that are non compliant in the city and threatened that firefighters would not respond to fires in those buildings.

“We demand that the EMS be restructured. Station commanders, you are coming back to shift.”

Some firefighters in attendance agreed with Kgaffe and said they want a monthly danger allowance of R4 000 added onto their salary, saying that they “put our [their] lives at risk every day”.

An EMS official told the Mail & Guardian that firefighters currently did not get danger pay.

A lack of equipment was also raised as an issue.

“Sometimes there are not even gloves,” one firefighter from Witbank Emergency Management Services told the M&G on condition of anonymity.

Firefighter Muzikayise Zwane said during the memorial service that firefighters had to use their hands to put out the fire as there was no water.

READ MORE: #JoburgsBravest: ‘Government Buildings to blame’ for deaths of three firefighters

“There was no water [in the Lisbon building]. I couldn’t believe a government building could be like this,” said Zwane. “Government buildings killed our brothers.”

National officer at the South African Municipal Workers’ Union Stephen Faulkner called for firefighters to unite, because “We are all brothers”.

“We want a full judicial inquiry into that hell on earth.”

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

The Portfolio: Levy Pooe

Artist Levy Pooe conceptualises his work as ‘a social diary of being black in the city’

Dumpsite fire that smoked out Pietermaritzburg is finally out

Firefighters have finally extinguished the fire at the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg, which had engulfed the KwaZulu-Natal capital in thick clouds of toxic smoke since it flared up more than a week ago

Residents raise a stink over landfill

The years-long battle against the EnviroServ waste site at Shongweni has taken a new turn

The Portfolio: Global Africa Lab

A project by Global Africa Lab explores the future of Black neighbourhoods affected by gentrification in New York City

Early-morning exercise: Jo’burg’s three golden hours

Under level four of the Covid-19 lockdown, the hours from 6am to 9am became the time when inner-city residents could use local parks to escape the nightmare around them

Foodies cook up feeding schemes

Despite the strain of lockdown, some restaurateurs are keeping bellies full

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Catholic NGO boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

The aid worker allegedly called his security guard a ‘slave’

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

SANDF hid R200m expenditure on ‘Covid’ drug it can’t use

Military health officials are puzzled by the defence department importing a drug that has not been approved for treating coronavirus symptoms from Cuba

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday