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DEA’s Working on Fire programme continues to empower marginalised communities

10 November 2015


The Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire programme has created a total of 13 660 jobs in the past three years, across all race groups within the programme.

“This Programme has the capacity to provide many more jobs necessitating the need for a higher budget. There is a major need for fire management capacity from WoF for both using fire for ecosystem management and combatting wild fires,” said Minister Molewa.

This is a very important program that is intended to firstly ensure that our Biodiversity and Ecosystems are protected; Secondly to contribute to socio-economic growth through such Flora and Fauna and also to create job opportunities.

The Working on Fire Programme was launched in 2003 as part of government’s drive to create jobs and alleviate poverty. It is one of several Departmental programmes under implementation through government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

The EPWP has been the primary vehicle through which the Department of Environmental Affairs has delivered on its job creation mandate.

Today more than 5 000 young men and women are employed through the programme. They are recruited from marginalized communities and trained in fire awareness and education, prevention and fire suppression skills. They are trained as veld and forest fire fighters and are stationed in more than 200 teams throughout South Africa. Statistics show that the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire (WoF) programme is undoubtedly, one of the country’s most important and valuable programmes.

Minister Molewa has also revealed that, in line with the National Development Plan, targets for job opportunities in the programme include some of the following future plans: 1.)Training opportunities for all, especially for those who are from disadvantaged communities on an on-going basis in diversified life skills. 2.) Skilling the beneficiaries in the rare leadership skills, such as, how to manage veld fires and other management capacity programmes. 3.) An objective to sign as many partners as possible in order to offer diversified services and products within the industry, leading to beneficiaries being multi-skilled in order to provide them with a wide scope in the job market.  Finally the alignment of all WoF training to South African Qualifications Authority Accreditation so that the beneficiaries are able to compete fairly in the job market once exited from the programme.

The number of job opportunities created through the Programme have been steadily increasing since the inception of WoF. Job opportunities created for the youth and women in the year 2013, through the programme resulted in  a total of 1 210 African women employed and the highest age bracket  of youth employed was 26-35 years, which is a total of 51% in that age group. 2014 saw a slight decline of 1125 African women being employed and an increase in the age group 18- 25 of which 42% of youth were employed. In 2015, 1 582 females were employed and 51% youth in the age group 26-35.

The total expenditure for the Working on Fire programme for the 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years was as follows; i) R404 205 524, ii) R405 540 125 and iii) R508 222 000 respectively.

Furthermore a total of 592 BEE compliant suppliers have benefited from the programme between 2013 and 2015, to the value of R395 144 169.00

For media queries contact:

Albi Modise

Cell: 083 490 2871