President to Launch Phase 5 of EPWP in East London


Working on Fire

Working on Fire

The Working on Fire – Kishugu Joint Venture will be part of the fifth Phase Launch of the Expanded Public Works Programme which will be held in East London (Buffalo City Stadium) on the 24th of April where PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa will unveil a plan to create five million EPWP work opportunities.

Firefighters from the Working on Fire Programme will perform a march and drill for President Cyril Ramaphosa and a Huey Helicopter and a Cessna Spotter Plane from the Working on Fire – Kishugu Joint Venture will do a ceremonial fly-past over the stadium as part of the EPWP launch celebrations.

The Kishugu Group of companies has successfully developed and implemented the EPWP Working on Fire Programme over the past 21 years to ensure that South Africa has a fully-fledged and fulltime wildland firefighting resource, spread across the country at 200 bases, to respond to the threat of unwanted wildfires.

The award-winning Working on Fire Programme resides in the Environmental Protection Branch of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment. The WOF programme has been an outstanding youth employment programme in terms of the stated EPWP objectives, poverty relief, training, upskilling, and delivering social good.

It also provides jobs that are not simply temporal or ephemeral job opportunities but fundamental rungs on the path for these firefighters’ employment careers, as they gain work experience and skills required for jobs in the broader market and/or rise in the ranks of managing the WOF programme

Today, some 20 years later, we have employed more than 17,000 formerly unemployed youth, many of whom have since secured permanent employment in the permanent economy in government (SAPS, SANDF, Municipalities), the conservation sector and the private sector.

We have also been deployed on five separate occasions to Canada as part of the bi-lateral South Africa-Canadian Bi-National Commission. In 2023, 860 WOF personnel were deployed to Canada to assist that country with its disaster fire.

These young men and women from WOF mentally and physically fit and always ready to assist partners with integrated fire management services such as fuel load reduction.

The threat of climate change is already visible in the form of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and raging wildland fires. South Africa is no exception from the global trends in terms of the predicted growth in intensity and frequency of wildland fires.

Working on Fire has estimated that South Africa needs some 17,000 wildland firefighters to adequately cover the country in terms of the threat of unwanted wildland fires. Such planned expansion over 5 years could easily be achieved within the framework of the current Working on Fire Programme.

For media enquiries please contact:
Nthabiseng Mokone
Working on Fire Provincial Communications Office – Eastern Cape
Mobile: 072 148 6516


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