[WATCH] Buckets used to fill empty fire truck due to ongoing Koster water crisis

Morning Review host Lester Kiewit chats to Carel van Heerden, the chairperson of the action group Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens.

  • Residents in Koster in the North West used buckets to try and fill a fire truck with water from a nearby hydrant while local businesses went up in flames on Tuesday

  • Carel van Heerden from the Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens says the fire trucks were empty because the Kgetlengrivier Municipality had no water

  • Van Heerden claims the ill-equipped firefighters did not have the correct hose to connect to the fire hydrant directly

  • He alleges that the water meant for the fire trucks is often sold by municipal workers in the water-scarce town



Local businesses in the small North West town of Koster went up in flames on Tuesday because a fire truck arrived on the scene without water.

In viral videos posted online, community members can be seen carrying buckets of water in an attempt to fill up the fire truck.

The Kgetlengrivier Municipality has struggled with water shortages for more than five years, according to Carel van Heerden, who chairs the Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens action group.

Van Heerden claims the fire truck was empty on arrival and ill-equipped firefighters did not have the correct hose to connect to a nearby fire hydrant.

Residents then stepped in and emptied buckets of water from the fire hydrant into the truck. However, Van Heerden says this did not help contain the fire due to low water pressure.

When the fire started a day before yesterday, they were phoned by the community to come and help and there was no water in the [fire trucks] and they didn't have the hose to connect it from the fire hydrant to the [fire truck]. That is why they opened the fire hydrant and they poured water into the buckets and into the [fire truck]... but that didn't help because there was not a lot of water available and not a lot of force.

Carel van Heerden, Chairperson - Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens

No major injuries were reported and residents believe that the fire was caused due to gas explosion at one of the local shops.

Van Heerden alleges that the fire truck was empty because officials from the fire department sell the water to desperate residents when it does become available.

He claims that the water, sewage, and fire services are poorly managed by the Kgetlengrivier Municipality.

Those guys in the fire department, when there is water, they fill up the fire trucks and they go into the rural communities and sell that water... and this is what happened.

Carel van Heerden, Chairperson - Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens

The problem is that there is no management skills in Koster regarding the water and the fire department.

Carel van Heerden, Chairperson - Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens

The Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens group is currently in a protracted legal battle with the municipality over control of water and sewage in the area.

They want to take over water and sewage projects in Koster and Swartruggens from the dysfunctional municipality.

The big problem that we experience is the shortage of water and that is well known.

Carel van Heerden, Chairperson - Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens

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