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Ventersburg fires: FF Plus asks PP to investigate white elephant

The FF Plus has asked the Public Protector (PP) to launch an investigation into the failed Mmamahabane Fire Station in Ventersburg in the Matjhabeng Local Municipality (Allanridge, Hennenman, Odendaalsrus, Ventersburg, Virginia, Welkom).

The Fire Station was inaugurated by the Municipality in 2015. But since then, the Station that cost taxpayers a staggering R14 million remains unused. It has also been looted.

Meanwhile, raging veld fires have destroyed approximately 25 000 ha of pasture over the weekend. Farmers from the area struggled to get the fires under control from Friday to Sunday.

If the Fire Station was operational, the fires and consequent damage could have been contained.

In a written reply to a question posed by the FF Plus in the Free State Legislature in June this year, the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Thembeni Nxangisa, indicated that the Municipality was busy finalising repair work on the Station. The recruitment and training of fire-fighting personnel was supposed to start that same month.

However, with the second site visit that the FF Plus paid to the Fire Station this past Monday, it was evident that the Station was still vacant and unused.

Therefore, the FF Plus is of the opinion that this white elephant must be investigated.

The communities of Ventersburg should not have to suffer due to unused and incomplete projects, which should have been utilised to ensure their safety.

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