THE Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire (WoF) programme has created a total of 13 660 jobs over the past three years.
The programme was launched in 2003 as part of government’s drive to create jobs and alleviate poverty.
“This programme has the capacity to provide many more jobs, necessitating the need for a higher budget,” said Edna Molewa, the Environmental Affairs minister, on Tuesday, 10 November. The total expenditure for the Working on Fire Programme for the 2012-’13 financial year was R404 205 524, in the 2013-’14 financial year it was R405 540 125 and in the 2014-’15 financial year it amounted to R508 222 000.
“There is a major need for fire management capacity from WoF for both using fire for ecosystem management and combating wild fires,” Molewa said.
The programme ensures that South Africa’s biodiversity and ecosystems are protected and it contributes to socio-economic growth as well job creation.
The programme 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 marginalised communities and trained in fire awareness and education, prevention and fire suppression skills,” the minister said.
“They are trained as veld and forest firefighters and are stationed in more than 200 teams throughout South Africa. Furthermore, a total of 592 Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) compliant suppliers have benefited from the programme between 2013 and 2015, to the value of R395 144 169,00.”