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News - Rubrieke
Wednesday, 23 April 2008 02:00

Breytie Breytenbach

On Sunday 16 March at 7:30 am a member of the Mooiplaats community discovered that a tree was lying right across Graham Road, blocking the road completely. Another member, on hearing about it via the community radio network, fruitlessly tried to contact emergency services at the Shere municipal offices.

He then drove to this office and asked the official to cut up and remove the tree. Then he went back to the scene and tried to divert the traffic. After about thirty minutes, the emergency official arrived in a car to inform him that the emergency vehicle would not start. The Mooiplaats member fetched his own chain saw, cut up the tree and removed it.

A few days later, on Good Friday 21 March, on their way to church early in the morning, this same member and his wife saw the emergency services vehicle speeding on Graham Road. This was not to attend to an emergency, but stopping to drop off passengers and pick up others, like a taxi. When confronted, the emergency official turned very aggressive. It is true that we have to look after ourselves and should keep away from danger. But it stands to reason that a situation can arise when our safety depends on a government official?s sense of responsibility, such as when a tree has fallen over the road.

An emergency official is usually the one who brings comfort and order to a chaotic situation, because he takes responsibility and ownership of a bad situation and manages it to normality. The tree was lying within walking distance from the Shere office. But this official seemed to have an inadequate sense of responsibility and therefore the problem was not his, but somebody else?s.

One also wonders whether the vehicle was out of order because it was abused as a taxi, making it unavailable for emergencies. We now sit with the dilemma that it seems as if we have one or more emergency officials without a sense of responsibility, and we have to wonder how to instil such an important characteristic in them. Is it possible? If no one is willing to take responsibility for a dead tree, then we are in real danger.

For more information, call Breytie Breytenbach at 012-802-1532.

 

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