WOF provides hope and dignity through formal employment
Mamelong is an informal settlement situated next to the Vaal Dam, about 40 kilometres from Vereeniging. It is surrounded by farms and most of the community members who work are employed on the farms on a seasonal basis.
‘‘Working on Fire is the only formal employer in the area of Mamelong which employs young people,” says Alfred Mpinga, a crew leader for the Vaal Marina Team. Mpinga says that people from the area wish to join Working on Fire because it is more formal in its operations and well structured.
‘‘We have pay slips, uniforms, equipment, transport and comply with safety standards. That draws more attention from young people in the squatter camp to the programme.”
All the firefighters in his team are from Mamelong, which has a high poverty rate and no electricity. “Working on Fire brought hope for us, the young people of Mamelong squatter camp,” he says.
“Many of us used to work on the farms but today we are able to service the same farmers who used to hire us, protecting the farms from fires as they still provide jobs for the community. Community members envy us because we are also protecting the environment and saving lives,” Mpinga says proudly.