Responding to questions sent by OFM News on July 22, Matjhabeng spokesperson, Kgojane Matutle, says the station will be reopened soon once renovations are completed.
He adds that police have over the years managed to apprehend and successfully prosecute several suspects for theft of cables and other material at the station. He adds the municipality’s Public Safety Department is working alongside local police to curb further vandalism.
The municipality is expected to provide more details regarding the structure, such as the exact value, in due course.
OFM News’ investigation into the station dates back to early July following murmurs that a fire station had been built with the support of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) in the area, but had never been utilised.
On July 11, Sanral Eastern region Project Manager, Nomsa Modise, told OFM News in a written response they had not made any contributions to a fire station in Matjhabeng. She confirmed the fire station, in fact, belonged to the municipality and all queries needed to be forward to the Free State municipality.
This is not the first building belonging to the Fire Department to be vandalised. On the morning of July 9, Welkom police arrested two people after they were found loading corrugated iron sheets onto a bakkie. The iron sheets were from the Warriors Club which also falls under the Fire Department. The Warriors Club in Welkom has been standing vacant since 2013.
Matjhabeng Fire Chief, Freddy Khuze, explains it was earmarked to be used as a training facility. Since then, the abandoned building has been the target of theft. Local police say people have stolen parts of the ceiling in the building in addition to the corrugated roof. It is unknown why the building wasn’t converted into a training facility as initially planned.
OFM News/Olebogeng Motse