Firefighters made SA proud - Working on Fire

2015-08-21 13:30
Some of the Working on Fire members who have returned to South Africa. (Adam Wakefield, News24)

Some of the Working on Fire members who have returned to South Africa. (Adam Wakefield, News24)

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Johannesburg - Forty-eight firefighters from South Africa made the country proud while fighting wild fires in Canada over the last month, Working on Fire's managing director said on Friday.

"The assessments that we have got back is that they have excelled in every single item," Llewellyn Pillay said at OR Tambo International Airport shortly before half of the group arrived home.

He had only heard positive things from those assessing the team in Canada.

Pillay said that while South African firefighting standards compared favourably with the best in the world, "what sets us apart... is that our morale and our attitude and our dedication and hard work comes through in everything that we do.

"It is indicative that as South Africans, [when] we put our hearts and minds toward something, anything is achievable and we can compete with the rest of the world."

The South Africans were joined in Canada by Americans, Mexicans, New Zealanders, and Australians. All had expertise in integrated fire management.

"Our standards were effectively qualified against the Canadians, Americans, New Zealand and Australia, and a request was made by Canada to actually come in and assist," Pillay said.

"However when we got there, they realised our standards, qualifications, training, fitness, morale is more than what the global standard is.

"That's not bad for young men and women coming from marginalised communities with the right attitude showing the rest of the world what we are capable of."

Working on Fire is a private company funded by government through the expanded public works programme. It was founded in 2003 as a poverty relief and employment creation initiative.

It currently has more than 5 000 firefighters across 200 bases in the country and trains young South Africans from impoverished communities.  

Read more on:    working on fire

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