Sunday, 13 March 2022


BULAWAYO is losing trained and experienced firefighters, a development that has led to the closure of Nkulumane Fire Station.

City fathers are concerned that this could lead to closure of more fire stations around the city.

Bulawayo has four fire stations in Nkulumane, Nketa, Famona and North End which are all affected by the manpower shortage.

In an interview, Bulawayo Chamber Secretary Mrs Sikhangele Zhou said most of those leaving the council were young firefighters who were demanding to be paid salaries in foreign currency.

Mrs Zhou said it was not feasible for council to pay salaries in forex because most residents were paying their bills in local currency.

“Council is committed to improving conditions of service for its workers but will not be able to pay salaries in forex as long as most residents pay bills in local currency. The council would want to cushion its workers just like what Government did but does not have required forex,” said Mrs Zhou.

She said young employees were complaining that they could not make ends meet with the salaries council is paying hence many of them were leaving to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

“I guess many of them need more to start their lives and as such are looking for jobs that can pay them better salaries. Sometimes it does get frustrating when you are young and you can’t do things for your family,” said Mrs Zhou.

She said because of shortage of firefighters, council was forced to close North End Fire Station but it has been reopened after the situation improved.

Mrs Zhou said in their last recruitment exercise they had  more than 2 000 applications from people who wanted to be firefighters.

“We are busy training new fire fighters and recently we recruited 50 who started this month,” said Mrs Zhou. She said Nkulumane Fire Station remains closed because of manpower shortage.

Bulawayo Acting Chief Fire Officer Mr Linos Phiri said they are contemplating opening a satellite station in Cowdray Park because of the long distance fire fighters have to drive to attend to fires in that suburb. Chronicle


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