Mpumalanga Working on Fire’s Busi Mohlala leads from the front

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25 August 2020

“I had blisters on both feet, and I couldn't walk for two weeks, but with encouragement from my Regional Manager, Vincent Lubisi, and WOF OHS, I kept going, became strong, and continued with the course. It was very difficult for me completing that course because after that, my husband and daughter were involved in a car accident and I couldn't cope, but with the support from WOF, fellow colleagues and friends, I continued and completed it.”

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

Press Release - Ms Busi Mohlala is breaking boundaries, rewriting the script and changing the narrative as a crew leader in Mpumalanga Working in Fire’s Breyten team in the Highveld. In its 17 years of existence, the Working on Fire programme, funded by the Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries, continues to support and promote women leadership and equality with 30 percent of their more than 5 000 firefighters being women, the highest number compared to similar firefighting fraternities worldwide. August is Women’s Month, and the theme this year is “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future”, and Ms Mohlala and her counterparts continue to prosper in a male-dominated industry. She joined the WOF programme, as a firefighter, in 2010, having been recruited at the Graskop base and she worked her way through the ranks to become a SHE-rep.

Her work ethic was rewarded when she was nominated to go study a Type 2 crew leader course in 2013, which did successfully, and was appointed in that position in the same year. After years as a Type 2, Ms Mohlala got the opportunity to further her career, and WOF gave the chance to study the Type 1 crew leader course, which she successfully completed. Ms Mohlala was appointed crew leader of the Breyten team, based and partnered with Msukaligwa Fire and Rescue, which is under the Msukaligwa Local Municipality. She leads a team of 19 firefighters, who conduct Integrated Fire Management (IFM) services, which include fire management planning, detection, prevention, suppression of runaway veld fires, dispatch and coordination, and community fire awareness activities. A mother to a daughter, Ms Mohlala recalls her best memories within the WOF programme being many and very memorable.

“I have had many great moments in my career, however, being awarded best crew leader after completing my Type 2 crew leader course, at Kishugu Training Academy in Nelspruit, remains my favourite,” Ms Mohlala said. With success, challenges are bound to arise, and Ms Mohlala remembers how during her vigorous firefighting training for the Type 1 crew leader, she developed blisters because Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) is required to be worn at all times. “I had blisters on both feet, and I couldn't walk for two weeks, but with encouragement from my Regional Manager, Vincent Lubisi, and WOF OHS, I kept going, became strong, and continued with the course. It was very difficult for me completing that course because after that, my husband and daughter were involved in a car accident and I couldn't cope, but with the support from WOF, fellow colleagues and friends, I continued and completed it.” When asked what she enjoys the most about her job and leading a team in ‘fiery’ situations, Ms Mohlala proudly stated she loves the challenges that always arise on the fireline, and all the new things she learns about her colleagues every day. “The fitness part I love as well, because daily fitness tests keeps me healthy and WOF continues to develop its firefighters,” Ms Mohlala concluded.

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