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SACP Gauteng calls on Cogta Minister to institute an urgent independent investigation into cause of death of firefighters

7 September 2018

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in Gauteng Province calls on the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to institute an independent investigation in the circumstances that led to the deaths of (3) Firefighters in Johannesburg this week.

We also call for calm during this time where (3) three lives of fighters were sadly lost. We send our heartfelt condolences to their families and loved ones while we dip our banner in honour of these working class heroes who work under trying circumstances. We are relieved that government officials were safely evacuated from the building.

Under these circumstances everyone must cease speculating and allow for an independent investigation into the cause of the fire to take its course. Government must also expedite the investigation and find temporary accommodation for the government officials.

It is against this background that the SACP Gauteng Province dismisses with the contempt it deserves the desperate and degenerate attempts by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to preempt a need for an independent investigation on facts and full circumstances that led to the tragic loss of life of the (3) three firefighters on Wednesday morning this week.

Whilst we do not wish to ride the DA speculation bandwagon and play cheap politics on the full set of facts and circumstances that followed the death of the three (3) firefighters, we believe that only an independent investigation can play a key role to help the affected families find closure on the cause of the tragic loss of life of their loved ones.

We find it extremely difficult to comprehend insinuations and innuendo without any shred of proof that seeks to proclaim the cause of the fire. We say this because we are aware that 1 115 lives of the occupants of the building were safely evacuated.

We therefore believe that only an independent investigation can reveal both the cause of fire and that of the deaths of the three fire-fighters.

It is in this context that we believe that the DA-controlled City of Joburg is certainly not better placed to conduct the investigation because they have already pronounced on the matter, without the benefit of the facts of an any investigation. It is clear to us that the deaths of professional and technically qualified firefighters cannot be accounted for along the same lines as that of occupants of the building who were fully accounted for.

We also believe that the almost self-incriminating media comments by the City of Joburg senior officials on the weaknesses and risks associated with conditions of work of the firefighters, are the basis of our call for an independent investigation.

We also believe that an investigation should be conducted on the cause of fire in the building to avoid speculation, including speculation that the fire may be a result of an act of arson in an apparent attempt to interfere with evidence linked to investigations currently taking place in the Department of Health. We are also aware that a fire allegedly broke out in the national Department of Health. We believe that the investigation will clarify if the two incidents of fire, in the same week, are in any way related.

We have also noted the emergence of the strange phenomenon supposedly by some of our "leftists", trumpeting and riding the same bandwagon of the racist and colonialist DA, apportioning blame on the provincial government, without the benefit of facts. We are not at all surprised by this seeming convergence between our "leftists", (especially our `leftie racist pretender`, that is, LRP) and the colonial DA that are jointly running a prejudicial public kangaroo court. History is full of many such convergences between various pretenders of different size, shape and shade.

We salute the workers mainly from Cosatu affiliates who have consistently over the past years, preceding the period of the current administration, raised alarm and warnings about the poor conditions of the buildings.

We commend the prompt and decisive step taken by the provincial government to immediately, in August 2017, investigate the concerns of the workers.

We also appreciate the transparency and openness about the contents of the report received just last week and the provincial government publicly declaring the shocking compliance levels of the Bank of Lisbon and other buildings. This type of openness, transparency and honesty is rare in many such circumstances.

We call on the provincial government to move with speed and not waste any time to relocate workers currently working in the non-compliant buildings. We also urge government to implement the recommendations of the report and ensure that such accidents and disasters, that may not be foreseen, are attended to swiftly and promptly.

We will work with our Alliance partners to ensure that government acts urgently to ensure that a long lasting sustainable solution is found to guarantee undisrupted service delivery for many years to come.

Issued by the SACP Gauteng Province

Contact:

Mpapa Kanyane - SACP Gauteng 1st Deputy Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 060 558 8314
or
Joe Mpisi - SACP Gauteng Provincial Chairperson
Mobile: 060 558 8298

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