The FF Plus in the Emfuleni Local Municipality (Evaton, Sebokeng, Vaal Oewer, Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging) expresses its deepest sympathy to the next of kin of Mr Willem Gouws, firefighter and member of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) in Vanderbijlpark, who died of Covid-19 on Thursday afternoon.
Gouws is the third firefighter from Emfuleni who passed away after contracting Covid-19.
Gouws, who had served as a firefighter for the Emfuleni Municipality for 21 years, is described by colleagues and community members as an "unsung hero" who was never too busy to help others. He will be remembered for his pleasant demeanour and his hard work. He served as the chairperson of the Vanderbijlpark CW Community Policing Forum twice and in his free time, he helped to patrol the streets.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, the FF Plus requested the administrators of the Emfuleni Local Municipality numerous times to see to it that fire engines, vehicles as well as the fire station are sanitized on a regular basis. But November last year was the last time that the fire station was properly sanitized.
In 2020, the Municipality allocated R2 million for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for emergency service personnel. These workers, however, never received the PPE they need and were forced to purchase gloves and sanitizers themselves.
The Emfuleni Municipality's failure to procure and provide the necessary PPE is seriously endangering the lives of emergency service personnel.
The FF Plus demands that the necessary PPE must be procured at once and that the fire station and all vehicles must be sanitized.
These life-saving actions are too little too late for Whiskey 6 (Willem Gouws' call sign) and his deceased colleagues, but they will help to protect the lives of the rest of the team.
Contact details: 076 616 2124