Firefighters Simphiwe Moropane (28), Khathutshelo Muedi (37)  and Mduduzi Ndlovu (40) lost their lives last week on Wednesday while battling the ferocious fire that took three days to extinguish. The building houses the departments of Health and Human Settlements.

Speaker of Council, Councillor Vasco da Gama, and Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba asked that the flags be flown at half-mast during the mourning period.

“We will remember this period when the City not only lost three firefighters, but also three fathers, husbands and colleagues. These men, as well as all the men and women in our Emergency Management Services (EMS) leave their homes daily, not knowing whether they will return home safely,” said Da Gama.

He said they risk their lives on a daily basis to ensure that the citizens of Johannesburg are safe.

“We thank you for your selfless service and dedication the City of Johannesburg EMS Department. Your names and all the other names of our fallen heroes will forever be etched in stone at the foot of our flagpoles where you will be commemorated annually by the citizens of Johannesburg,” said Da Gama.

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“My deepest condolences, once again to the families, friends, and colleagues of Joburg’s finest.”

Da Gama made it clear that the national flag “must not be half-masted, as only the President can give that instruction”.

He added: “If a national flag was next to a council flag, then the national flag must not be hoisted at daylight until after the mourning period.”

– African News Agency