It was yet another accomplishment for the Eden District Municipality when a Working on Fire (WOF) team, which operates under the South Cape Fire Protection Agency (SCFPA), was welcomed at its Fire Station in Ladismith, on Thursday, 31 July 2014.
The 22 WOF members with their manager, Mr Ricardo Pietersen, will not only contribute to the strengthening of the region’s fire response capacity, but will also assist in reducing the fire risk by preparing fire breaks and executing controlled burns to lessen the fuel load in the district. This, due to recent studies which proved that the climate change modelling for the district indicates that the frequency and intensity of fires will increase with warmer days, according to Eden’s Manager: Emergency Services, Mr Gerhard Otto, who was present at the event.
Eden’s Executive Mayor conveyed a word of appreciation to WOF’s management, at the occasion, for allowing all the young people, an opportunity to become part of the WOF team. In addition, Mayor Van der Westhuizen inspired the members and said: “At Eden we do not work with ordinary people – we work with the extra-ordinary. When your work entails saving the lives of others, then it should not be regarded as an ordinary job. Measure yourselves with the best and work hard.”
Kannaland’s Executive Mayor, Ald. Jeffery Donson, also encouraged the WOF members and said: “Kannaland needs the services of WOF – many times in the past we have seen people’s property burned down and people burned to death. For that reason, I am grateful to see that all spheres of government, including, National- and Provincial Government, as well as Eden District Municipality assemble together, with the community, to take Kannaland forward in this way.”
Mr Trevor Abrahams, Managing Director of WOF in the Western Cape, emphasized to the members the importance of obeying the rules and how it forms part of building a sense of identity. Managing Director of the SCFPA, Mr Paul Gerber, presented a summary of their organisation’s activities, while Mr Shane Christian, General Manager of WOF during the event, also elaborated on the operations of WOF.
Eden’s Portfolio Chairperson for Management Services, Cllr Henry McCombi, Speaker of Kannaland, Cllr Hyron Ruiters, representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs, representatives from Cape Nature, as well as officials from WOF, Eden and Kannaland also attended the event. The most important guests of the occasion were the proud parents and relatives of the WOF members who will work “for service and sacrifice”.