The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says operations at Waterkloof Airforce Base in Pretoria have not been disrupted. This comes as investigations are continuing to determine the cause of Sunday’s fire.
Waterkloof Airforce Base officials have ruled out foul play following Sunday night’s fire at the base in Centurion, south of Pretoria. Senior officials say the base is well-secured.
Briefing the media outside the base about the ongoing investigation, SA Airforce Spokesperson Brigadier-General Mongezi Kweta says, “At the moment there’s no involvement of the SAPS. The whole investigation team is composed of the fire department of Tshwane, SA Airforce Fire Department and the military police, the security squadron. It is the preliminary report that will point us to whether there was foul play or any activity of criminality or not. Which then will guide us to involve the SAPS but at the moment is still an internal investigation.”
SANDU’s National Secretary Pikkie Greef says South Africans shouldn’t panic following Sunday’s fire.
“No look incidents like this are not uncommon at military bases. Especially in an environment where there’s aviation fuel and other kinds of fuel been stored. It was contained pretty quickly. Thanks to the great response by the Air Force’s fire fighting teams on the base itself. I don’t think there’s anything sinister though we believe they convey an enquiry as required by law to establish the cause of the fire.”
Greef says the latest fire shouldn’t be compared to the massive blaze that destroyed the National Assembly building in Cape Town earlier this month.
“I think first to set the record straight, the Waterkloof Airforce Base is not the national key point. Not even included in the national key point act but a point that is under the control of the Department of Defense. The second thing is that we did not even it being the target during the course of the July unrest. So I don’t think there’s any course for concern. The Defence Force facilities are very guarded than any kind of facilities.”
A clean-up operation is underway. SANDF Spokesperson Brigadier-General Andries Mahapa says investigations will continue to try to determine what caused the fire.
“We are busy with mop-up operations and also continue with an investigation which we are told it will take today and tomorrow. And then we will be in a position to give a detailed report in terms of what was the cause of the fire and if there was any structural damage the investigation will determine as such. How do we need to clarify these many narrations? The Air Force is not under any form of attack whatsoever. No foul play in any other form.”
The fire at the Air Force Base comes as the country awaits answers following the recent fire that destroyed parts of the Parliament building in Cape Town.
VIDEO: Investigations continue to determine the cause of fire at SANDF Waterkloof Base in Pretoria