An enquiry from Polokwane Observer regarding a palisade fence that Polokwane Municipality recently constructed at the entrance to the fire station in Ladanna ruffled the feathers of officials involved when an instruction was, according to a source, given that it should be removed at once.
The necessity for the 1 m high structure that also poses a danger to visitors, especially from school groups that visit the facility on a regular basis, is questioned.
The steel structure, that was constructed and paid for during the last month of the municipality’s financial year, is rumoured to be have been a project aimed at spending funds that were unused on the current budget. It is also alleged that the processing of the order and payment of the contractor were effected in record time.
In response to questions directed in this regard Communications and Marketing Manager of the municipality, Matshidiso Mothapo explained that, according to a report received, the project was necessitated by replacement of the old wooden fence that has lived it’s life, to face-lift the area and to protect the garden area from being destroyed by stray animals and people who use it for sleeping at night and littering.
“Visits by children at the facility are arranged and the children’s visits are inside the facility for viewing of fire trucks and talks by firefighters. They do not go to the garden area and are always under supervision. As a result the sharp edges on the fence are purely for protection purposes and will not harm the children,” Mothapo reported and confirmed that the prescribed supply chain management processes were followed and that the cost did not exceed R30 000.
A resident that regularly visits the facility, however confirmed that school groups that visit the fire station, as well as all visitors, are admitted through the main entrance and have to walk alongside the palisade.
“I have actually seen youngsters chasing one another around the garden while they were waiting to be allowed into the building. The transport that delivers the children are actually parked at the street front parking as private vehicles are not allowed to park inside,” he remarked.
He also disputes that vagrants are sleeping or have ever slept on the premises as it is occupied on a 24-hour basis. “The reference to stray animals is farfetched as well. There are no stray animals in that area that can cause damage to the so-called garden that does not exist and the fence is open at the street front,” he said.
At time of going to print, the alleged white elephant was still standing.
Story & photos: BARRY VILJOEN