In an attempt to alleviate the unemployment in the Eastern Cape, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment’s Working on Fire (WoF) programme has recruited 40 young people to be trained as veld and forest firefighters.
The new recruits will be based at five Forestry Support Project (FSP) teams across the province.
Provincial spokesperson for the WoF, Nthabiseng Mokone said the young men and women were recruited earlier this month in the Libode FSP team, Nomadamba FSP team, Ntywenka FSP, Manzamnyama FSP as well as Katberg FSP team.
She said every candidate who attended had to go through a fitness test.
The criteria of the fitness test included 40 push ups, 40 sit-ups and running 2.4km for 14 minutes for women and 12 minutes for men.
“All the new recruits will be taken to the training academy in Nelspruit and will undergo training courses that include advanced firefighting, fire safety and other specialised skills.
“These recruits will be taught extensively on the essentials of integrated fire management.
“This is also part of the WoF objectives to develop skills for the young men and women in the province.
“The opportunity will also help alleviate poverty in the homes of those fellow firefighters,” Mokone said.
She said the recruitment was also done to top up the existing teams to maintain team strength in order for them to work as full teams in their day to day fire prevention work like fuel load reduction, firefighting and community awareness.
“This was also done in preparation for the upcoming winter fire season,” Mokone said.