GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - Working on Fire (WOF) in the Western Cape has appointed Albert Snyman, a former firefighter, to spearhead the programme's operations in the Southern Cape as ground operational manager (GOM). WOF was established by the Department of Environmental Affairs (now Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries) in September 2003 to help fight veld and forestry fires.
Snyman has been with the programme for over 16 years. He was recruited as a firefighter in May 2004 at the Swellendam base when the programme was less than a year old.
He served as a firefighter and crew leader for the first two years in the programme and was promoted to regional manager, a position he held for 14 years, managing the Swellendam, Riversdale, Bredasdorp and two Albertinia bases.
As GOM he is in charge of the operations of 14 teams based in the Southern Cape, as well as the WOF regional office bases in George.
"My new role includes making sure that we have a full complement of the teams, especially during fire season, to ensure we render promised services. I make sure that teams are available to assist in fire suppression when requested by partners, that they have transport and adequate resources to perform their duties," he says.
As a former firefighter who has served the programme since its inception, he knows the ins and outs of operation.
"I am proud of my 16 years and four months and if I can still make a difference at the level of GOM, I definitely will do so. I believe if we do the basics right we already have the winning recipe for the programme and beyond," he says.
He says WOF built a large part of his professional work ethics through training and support from top management who believed in him.
WOF general manager Melany Duthie-Surtie says Snyman has moved up the ranks in the programme and it is an honour have him in senior management. "We are privileged to have that 16 years of knowledge that he is going to share with the teams and the management he will be overseeing," she says.
Snyman is part of the 60% of former firefighters who are now serving in management positions in the programme.
This month, WOF celebrates 17 years of successful partnership with various stakeholders such as the Fire Protection Association, municipalities, SANParks, CapeNature and landowners.
Working on Fire is a Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries programme that helps fight veld and forestry fires.
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