Mob stones firefighters' water tanker in Cape Town

Tammy Petersen, News24

Cape Town - A water tanker was allegedly stoned by residents in Masiphumelele on Saturday night, forcing firefighters to retreat from dousing a fire in the township, City of Cape Town Fire Services confirmed on Monday.

Reports were received of informal structures burning in the area and after the tanker had entered the area, stones were thrown at the vehicle, said spokesperson Theo Layne.

The team managed to escape unscathed.

It is understood that the fire may have been caused by a group of residents who had been behind mob justice incidents which left one man dead on Friday night after he was set alight.

In a second incident on Saturday night, the home of a man accused of being a drug dealer was damaged by the mob before he was “escorted out of the community”.

Community Police Forum chairperson Kathy Cronje said while she understood residents’ frustrations with regard to policing, the attack on the firefighters was taking the matter “too far”.

“What happens if there is [large scale] shack fires and fire services don’t want to enter the area [because of safety concerns]?” she asked.

Layne said while fire services responded to all reports of blazes, the safety of the firefighters needs to be considered.

“If the situation is unsafe, members will retreat and return with Metro Police, Law Enforcement or Saps, who will confirm if the volatility has decreased.

“If this is the case, the firefighters will go back and assist.”