South African local authority union IMATU praises the fire fighters who battled tirelessly to put out fires in Cape Town.

South African local authority union the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) has praised all disaster management teams, firefighters, volunteers and municipal officials who worked tirelessly to bring devastating fires along the Southern Peninsula in the Western Cape under control.

“Our members in the fire fighting division have been battling large fires in Muizenberg, Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman’s Peak at the Hout Bay side, Tokai Forest and Noordhoek, since Sunday. Strong winds have made this already difficult situation worse and additional fire-fighters and volunteers have been deployed in efforts to bring the fires under control,” said IMATU President, Stanley Khoza.

It is estimated that more than 10,000 acres of vegetation has been burnt thus far.

“IMATU is very proud of the firefighters, many of whom are our members, working around the clock to contain this fire and protect people in the surrounding areas. We would like to commend them for putting themselves on the line and tacking this enormous task head on. As a small token of appreciation staff from our Cape Town Metro Office handed out energy drinks and chocolates to returning firefighters yesterday,” stated Khoza.

“We are extremely proud of our members’ passion and commitment in fulfilling their duties fearlessly. IMATU, together with South Africans everywhere, hope that this fire will be contained and brought under control soon,” concluded Khoza.

The fires swept across the Table Mountain range during extremely high temperatures earlier this week, destroying vegetation and homes. Although wildfires are a natural occurrence in this part of the world, climate change and human activity makes them more frequent and more severe.

The irony of the situation is that in many cases, extremely poorly paid firefighters risked their lives to save the houses and property of the wealthy people who live on the mountain slopes.

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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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