DA calls for full investigation after fourth EMLM building in Komani burns down

Picture: Heinrich Ebenhardus Griebenouw

The DA has strongly condemned the ‘ongoing neglect’ of municipal infrastructure in Komani after a fourth Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality building – the historic Town Hall – was gutted by a fire in the early hours of this morning.

The party will write to co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha to request a full investigation into the four fire incidents that occurred in a short period of time.
DA member of the provincial legislature, Jane Cowley, said: “It is very disturbing that all four buildings that have been gutted by fire in recent months, contained valuable and sensitive municipal records, including records of foul play and maladministration of the highest order. One can only assume, therefore, that these fires were no accident.”

Cowley said a full investigation into the previous fires which destroyed municipal assets will also be requested.

“This destruction of property is a direct result of a local government that has no respect for municipal assets, no respect for ratepayer contributions and no respect for service delivery that these rates should be paying for. Their mission is simply to enrich themselves at all costs. Nothing else matters.”

She commended the Community Policing Forum and volunteers for assisting in saving the building and preventing it from spreading to other buildings.

“Also disturbing is the fact that the fire engine, which was waiting for repairs in October last year when the art gallery burnt down, is still without an engine and the municipality alleges they have no money for repairs. I will further request that immediate steps be taken to ensure that the fire fighting unit is properly equipped to fight fires and that the municipal manager and the chief financial officer be held to account for their reckless and illegal spending in a time when the municipality cannot even offer the most basic services to citizens.”

Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality was set to issue a statement later today while police spokesperson Captain Namhla Mdleleni confirmed that the provincial office was working on providing a report on the incident.