Minister Molewa saddened by tragic loss of working on fire employee during Western Cape fire operations
07 February 2018
The Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr Edna Molewa, has expressed her condolences to the family of Mr Makelepe Cedric Seokoma, a Working on Fire (WoF) Base Manager, who passed away on Monday, 5 February 2018. Mr Seokoma passed away whilst trying to contain a wild fire in the Simonsberg Mountain, near Klapmuts in the Western Cape.
“On behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Working on Fire management and staff, we wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the Seokoma Family for the loss of their loved one. We also wish to express our gratitude to our WoF firefighters who have exhibited dedication, selfless service and hard work during these fires,” said Minister Molewa.
The fire had started on Saturday, 3 February 2018, on the property of a forestry company and moved into the Simonsberg Mountains. WoF had 25 firefighters that provided fire suppression support and the fire was declared contained on Sunday evening, 4 February at around 6pm.
Due to unfavourable weather conditions which were precipitated by a high Fire Danger Index (FDI) in the area, on the morning of the 5th of February, the fire flared up again. The WoF Strand Team consisting of 20 firefighters including Mr Seokoma, were called out again on Monday 5 February, to assist in trying to bring the flare up under control.
Unfortunately, in the ensuing operations, Mr Seokoma lost his life and WoF dispatched a Huey Helicopter and Fixed Wing Spotter Plane that helped in the evacuation of the remaining firefighters from the Simonsberg Mountains. Mr Seokoma was originally from the Limpopo Province and leaves behind his wife and children. He started at the WoF Sekororo Base in Limpopo as a firefighter in 2004 and moved up the ranks in the programme from Crew Leader to Instructor and then to the position of Base Manager at the Strand Base, which he held until his untimely death.
WoF Managing Director, Trevor Abrahams, said the programme provided counselling to the fire-fighters immediately after the incident. The programme will also provide support with all the funeral and memorial arrangements to his family.
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