South Africa — Business leaders in the Eastern Cape are blaming local municipalities for losing millions of rands because of municipalities’ failure to fight fires.
At least five businesses in Mthatha and Ngcobo have been burnt to ashes in a period of a year, while business owners waited for help from the municipalities to contain the fires. Business owners in Ngcobo say they have lost close to R12 million this year because of fires. Many rural towns in the Eastern Cape are without fire extinguishing equipment. Business owners say it is a risk operating in a town without a disaster management team.
Rural residents say the shortage of fire fighting equipment also affects them, especially when there are veld fires. The eNgcobo Local Municipality has been without fire tenders for the past 12 years. When fire destroys private properties, the municipalities do not compensate owners despite not being able to extinguish fires.