Also present was the acting chief of Joburg’s emergency management services (EMS), Tshepo Makola.
On the day, 20 new ambulances, fitted with hi-tech equipment, including life support, beds and panic buttons were also handed over. The ambulances will be rotated to the other two stations in Soweto, in Dobsonville and Diepkloof.
Speaking to the community, Mathang said: “This is part of our effort to bring services delivery closer to where people are located.
“In this City, we believe that local action such as this initiative, goes a long way towards the creation and the building of safe, sustainable communities. Today’s occasion is about both the coming into being of the new and the phasing out of the old.” Mfikoe encouraged the community to take ownership of the facility. “This is your station, take care of it. Report any abuse of the facilities and equipment.
“This is the start of great things to come. We are hoping that in the near future we will add more ambulances and other needed facilities to improve emergency services.”
Timing could not have been better, as the festive season was approaching, she added. “The ambulances will also help in the upcoming festive season to effectively respond to emergency situations.”
The Jabulani Fire Station is the busiest of the three in Soweto. Reports released in August showed that the station could be responding to more than 3 000 medical calls a month, ranging from maternity emergencies to assaults, burns and motor vehicle accidents.
The station is the first black managed station in Soweto, and it was the only station that provided emergency services during the Soweto riots.
Upgrades include a Basic Emergency Safety and Fire Education Centre (BeSafe), where people will be taught about fire safety and fire prevention, evacuation drills and basic first aid.
Programmes such as Learn Not To Burn will be run from the centre. On this programme, members of the public learn about fire precautions. The centre is run by the EMS’s public information, education and relations unit.
“This centre will go a long way to educate our people about fire safety and how to keep safe,” said Makola. It was important to continue educating the community so they did not become the victims of fire.
He was satisfied with the equipment given to the station, and said staff was prepared to take on the duty of providing quality emergency services. “We have our teams ready and well trained. Some of our staff have recently completed a course in water rescue, so we have a team of swimmers and divers who will also help us a great deal in responding to situations that require such skills,” he said.
To raise awareness about safety, the City regularly holds wide-ranging safety campaigns focusing on fire, water, motor vehicles, electricity and hazards such as manholes. These campaigns are run on a seasonal basis.