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Fire Service attacked three times in 48 hours, other services temporarily suspended <p>The City strongly condemns the abuse and harassment faced by employees trying to carry out their duties of providing much-needed services to residents. It is unfortunate that some staff have been hospitalised, injured and vehicles and equipment damaged due to the callous acts of protesters.</p><p><strong>Fire and Rescue Service </strong><br>The City’s Fire and Rescue Service has been targeted three times in the space of 48 hours this week. After an incident in Khayelitsha on Tuesday where a fire truck was surrounded and stoned, a petrol bomb was hurled at a fire truck in Mfuleni just hours later. </p><p>The fire engine was en route to a call, when they were attacked at the Bosasa TRA just after 19:30. The attackers threw stones at the vehicle, but also a petrol bomb. Staff saw flames on the right side of the crew cab, but they didn’t stop and drove to the Blue Downs police station instead. </p><p>Fortunately, the vehicle didn’t catch alight, and no one was injured. </p><p>Twenty four hours later, the same happened to another fire vehicle in Mfuleni – while under police escort. </p><p>The roof lining caught alight, but staff were able to extinguish the flames in time.</p><p>‘The City condemns these cowardly attacks on our staff. The Fire and Rescue Service is there to assist communities. The ongoing attacks on staff could seriously impact on service delivery to our most vulnerable communities, as crews will not be entering flashpoint areas without police escorts, which will slow down response times to fires and other emergencies,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.</p><p><strong>Transport</strong><br>The City’s Dial-A-Ride service has been suspended in Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Joe Slovo, and Kraaifontein until further notice. This is due to the violent protests in these areas and the attack on the DAR vehicle late on Monday afternoon, 20 July 2020. </p><p>The City cannot risk the lives of passengers and staff and users have been informed that we will only resume operations once it is safe to do so. We are monitoring other volatile areas and may need to suspend the service in other parts of the city as well.</p><p>‘A video-clip of the attack on the DAR vehicle in Khayelitsha was sent to me, and I was appalled and extremely upset by what I saw. Imagine if you are in a wheelchair, without the freedom to move out of harm’s way, and to endure an attack with stones. Furthermore, you do not know why you are being attacked and why these people are targeting you. </p><p>‘Both female passengers and the driver sustained head injuries during the attack. The one passenger was admitted to hospital and was discharged on Tuesday morning.</p><p>‘The DAR service transports people with special needs who cannot make use of conventional public transport. Most of these passengers are in wheelchairs. The violent protesters are preventing crucial services and service delivery to those in need. This must stop,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Alderman Felicity Purchase.</p><p><strong>Electricity services </strong><br>The City’s Electricity Generation and Distribution Department temporarily suspended its electricity services to parts of Mfuleni due to the violence and volatility as well as in an effort to protect staff who have already been injured while trying to perform their duties. It is not decisions that are taken lightly as our customers are important to us. But we do need to consider the safety of essential, frontline staff especially. ‘The City apologises for any inconvenience. Eskom, who supplies Khayelitsha, has also withdrawn from the area due to the violence and to protect members of staff,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti. </p><p>Various areas across the metro, in particular in parts of Khayelitsha and Mfuleni, are currently under strain from attempts to invade land earmarked for community basic services, nature conservation land, play parks or City housing projects. </p><p>The City, together with law enforcement agencies, is doing its best to thwart the attempts but it seems to be mostly large-scale, well-planned, well-funded and orchestrated invasions. Actions to prevent the invasion of land or illegal occupation of housing projects are being met in some areas such as in Khayelitsha and Mfuleni with extreme violence and destruction of property and the breaking down of community facilities. </p><p>This is impacting on City projects, service delivery or community facilities in Mfuleni and Khayelitsha and in other areas including Wallacedene, Delft, Dunoon, Firgrove (Macassar), Milnerton, Nyanga among others. </p><p>‘This also comes in the wake of the court case involving the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), represented by the pro land invasion Legal Resource Centre. It seeks to interdict the City from conducting any and all anti-land invasion operations. The SAHRC is further asking the court to void all existing court orders protecting specific sites from invasion. </p><p>‘The EFF has joined the SAHRC matter as a third party, but looking specifically at Mfuleni, where it is involved, the party argues the City may not perform operations on City land or to protect the nature conservation land as the case may be,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi. </p><p><strong>Water and Sanitation Services</strong><br>Residents living in Mfuleni and parts of Khayelitsha are currently experiencing refuse collection delays due to City vehicles being attacked in the area. Cleansing (which involve litter picking and door-to-door refuse collection in informal settlements) in Joe Slovo Park in Milnerton has also been temporarily suspended after one of the department’s trucks was petrol bombed on the evening of Tuesday, 21 July 2020. </p><p>Mfuleni residents should please take their bins back onto their properties until further notice. They will be informed via Sub-councils, or social media, when refuse collection will resume. </p><p>Khayelitsha is currently receiving services where this can be done safely. As such, residents of this area should please take their bins out each day until collected. </p><p>The cleansing team is in contact with the local ward councillors and the subcouncil and will inform them when services in Joe Slovo Park will resume.</p><p>Protest action is also disrupting water and sanitation services in various areas, including Khayelitsha, Macassar, Delft, Wallacedene as well as Dunoon and Joe Slovo in Milnerton, as the department’s vehicles and officials are also being targeted. The unrest can also have an impact on services when staff who live in these areas are not able to commute to work.</p><p>‘We condemn any violent protests especially when it denies many households from receiving services. The refuse collection teams have been unable to service Mfuleni since last week as our vehicles were being stoned and a contractor’s vehicle was petrol-bombed in Khayelitsha. Fortunately no staff were physically harmed during these attacks. Trauma counselling has been offered to staff who wish to receive this support.  </p><p>‘The current environment poses a direct threat to the safety of our staff and as such, our refuse collection teams are unfortunately unable to service Mfuleni and parts of the Khayelitsha area. We are, however, monitoring the situation closely and will resume services when it is deemed safe to do so. We are making every effort to ensure that we continue to deliver services as far as possible while prioritising the safety of our staff and the public we serve,’ said Alderman Xanthea Limberg, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste.</p><p><strong>Anonymous tip-offs welcomed:</strong><br>Residents can report illegal activity that is taking place or that has happened or is still to happen. For anonymous tip offs, please call 112 from a cell phone (toll free) and 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 for emergencies.</p><p><strong>End</strong></p>2020-07-22T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#c68339a9-4d36-46d9-b104-39c21214789e;L0|#0c68339a9-4d36-46d9-b104-39c21214789e|protest;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GPP|#d63bd629-d5be-4620-9b73-8aad50766775;GP0|#cee98527-2114-4029-8173-aee474e6c8a5;L0|#0cee98527-2114-4029-8173-aee474e6c8a5|land invasion;GP0|#cd2cd131-61eb-42aa-a4bd-73e6caa5148f;L0|#0cd2cd131-61eb-42aa-a4bd-73e6caa5148f|fire and rescue;GP0|#762de267-90ad-4660-8493-5085a227187c;L0|#0762de267-90ad-4660-8493-5085a227187c|Transport;GPP|#849c71d3-ed9d-4ce2-89f6-03e9c6f179ef;GPP|#ed82ebba-eb32-4b9a-99c9-da3e081869a6;GP0|#0d8b7293-a214-43fa-80da-d843dd6f8e82;L0|#00d8b7293-a214-43fa-80da-d843dd6f8e82|human settlements;GP0|#b195be29-9300-4dc7-ac99-92629ce847ac;L0|#0b195be29-9300-4dc7-ac99-92629ce847ac|electricity;GP0|#5ed7348c-40fe-4cb8-8ddd-17a2be93564d;L0|#05ed7348c-40fe-4cb8-8ddd-17a2be93564d|refuse1

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