Ekurhuleni fire chief gets promoted

SAESI's new president, Ofentse Masibi

SAESI has a new president
Ekurhuleni fire chief gets promoted

The City of Ekurhuleni is about to heighten its game in the emergency services field. Its new fire chief, Ofentse Masibi, prepares to take up the seat as President of the Southern African Emergency Services Institute (SAESI) at their biennial conference next week.

Masibi, who was previously the Vice President, will take over the presidency from Moshema Mosia – who is currently the Head of Department at Ekurhuleni’s Disaster and Emergency Management Services department. At the beginning of this month Masibi began his new job as Director at the Ekurhuleni Emergency Services, and it’s only fitting that he is elected as president at the pinnacle of his career.

Like many inspirational South Africans, Ofenste Masibi had a humble beginning to his life in the small village of Meet Mekaar in the North West province. He completed his Grade 10 Standard (8) in 1984 and in 1986 he began his career as a fire fighter at the then Bophuthatswana National Fire Services as a trainee.

According to Masibi, his introduction to fire services was motivated by the pay, but it was no coincidence. When he was 13 years old his father’s farm was gutted by a fire, which destroyed the entire harvest of mielies. “I remember thinking that somebody, somewhere, should have been able to stop this,” he recalled.

From a recruit, he then became an ambulance assistant and enrolled in preliminary fighting courses. He registered with the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) and SAESI to write his junior fire fighter exams. In 1994 he was employed by the then Mmabatho City Council where his mentor, John Peter Richardson, saw his potential and motivated him to study further.

Over the years he went through the various ranks, obtained a National Diploma in Fire Services, a BTech degree in Fire Technology. In 2003 he was appointed as one of the first black Chief Fire Officers at the Potchefstroom City Council, where the passion for his work was reignited and he was inspired to improve his knowledge so that he could make a mark in the field.

“I realized that there were not a lot of qualified senior black managers and so I registered for my Master’s Degree in Public Management and Governance at the University of Potchefstroom.” In 2007 Masibi decided that he was up for a new challenge and wanted to work for bigger cities. He applied for positions at both the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni municipalities, was offered the job by both cities, but ultimately chose the City of Ekurhuleni.

Throughout his career, his participation in SAESI and its structures never floundered. Since his enrolment with the institute in 1986 he has been active at branch level and served on various committees. In 2007 he was elected as the Vice President elect, and again in 2009 when Mosia was elected as President. Mosia served two terms in that seat and will now make way for Masibi, who will be inaugurated next Wednesday, which is the opening day of the 29th International Conference of the South African Emergency Services Institute.

The biennial SAESI conference is the largest fire, rescue, emergency and disaster management international conference, exhibition and training event in Southern Africa. Taking place on 15 to 17 May at the Nasrec Expo centre in Johannesburg, the conference is divided into three sections. It provides a well-rounded holistic experience to anyone in the emergency services sector with its theme of ‘Working together to ensure our Future’. The categories of the event are the three day conference and workshops, the competitions and the exhibition.

Although the event will take place in Johannesburg, the event is organized by the incoming President, supported by City of Ekurhuleni. Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Clr Mondli Gungubele, welcomes the opportunity, which comes right after a successful 2013 World Airport Cities Conference and Exhibition (ACE).

Gungubele has also expressed his compliments to both Mosia and Masiba stating: “Ekurhuleni is fortunate to have in our employ leaders who have been elected to contribute, steer and lead SAESI into the future. Let me congratulate and thank Moshema Mosia for a job well done over the past four years. I also wish Ofentse Masibi the best of luck and strength as he takes over as president of this esteemed institute.”

“Our devoted employees have continued to meet the demands of the Disaster and Emergency Management Services of Ekurhuleni and have excelled, despite the challenges which were facing them. We should all be very proud of where we are today and excited about where we are headed.”

For more information on SAESI and the 29th International Conference of the South African Emergency Services Institute visit www.saesi.com.


Issued by

Sam Modiba
Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality
Acting Media Relations Unit Manager

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