Francistown’s P22 million Dumela sub fire station is currently underutilised, as it has no firefighting equipment and is manned by one staff member, Northern Extra has learnt.
The station has no specialised firefighting trucks nor the personnel to operate them.
Some of the equipment that the sub fire station lacks include Jaws of Life, Light portable pumps, breathing apparatus and deployment boards, branches, hose, hard suction, heavy rescue kit, thermal image cameras (TIC) and bulk AFFF foam, which are said to be too expensive for the Francistown City Council.
The equipment is necessary for the station as it is supposed to service a heavy industrial area. The sub fire station was completed in 2009 and is yet to operate fully.
NE learns that the initial cost of the sub fire station was P3.7 million when it was first proposed in 2000. The motion for its construction was brought by the then councillor Khumongwana Maoto who later became member of parliament in 2004. The sub fire station was to be built during the financial year of 2000/01 but failed leading to its prices ballooning P22 million in 2008.
Currently, the only area that is working at the building is the conference room which is frequently used by the council to hold staff meetings for different departments. The fire station was one of the nine major projects that the council undertook in 2008.
The other project that has turned into a white elephant is the hostels built for the disabled in 2008 at Gerald Estate which were budgeted for P10 819 000 but ended at P14 093 682 in cost overruns.
With a capacity to accommodate 180 students, the hostels were however built without an administration block and a kitchen and are still unoccupied since completion in 2009.
FCC principal public relations officer Joseph Wasubera has since last week not responded to our questions regarding the Dumela sub fire station.