Emergency rescue services had to be called to the uThukela District Municipality Offices in Ladysmith on Friday, 31 March 2023, after a fire broke out in one of Uthukela District Municipality offices.
The District Municipality’s Communications Unit said, “This unfortunate incident happened while the Municipal Manager Mr MB Mnguni was addressing a group of staff members belonging to the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) who were engaged in an industrial action. Meanwhile, the leadership of the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) was also busy addressing its members on the other side.”
Smoke was then noticed coming out of the building and some employees were seen running outside, told the municipality
Alfred Duma Local Municipality Public Safety, firefighters and SAPS quickly responded to the scene, and the fire was extinguished.
The Communications Unit further pointed out that the office that was set on fire is used to keep all documents pertaining to finances.
“It is concerning that the office that was set alight contains documents that are under investigation by the forensic investigators. These documents date back to 2015 and contain vital information”, said Mnguni.
Police have taken in one suspect for interrogation. It is alleged that the suspect was seen entering the office on Thursday, 30 March, though he had no reason to be there.
Following the incident, the MM closed the offices earlier and sent the staff back home as safety precautions.
Both the Municipal Manager and Ministerial Representative’s office urge all parties to engage peacefully, respect public property and engage each other on matters of common interest. Importantly, they must do so within the ambit of law governing local government, more so in municipalities like UThukela wherein essential service is rendered. “Finally, the Administrator wants to reiterate that our communities deserve better.”
What are your thoughts on the above-mentioned? Share your views in the comment section below.