Makelepe Cedrick Seokoma, aged 36, tragically lost his life on 5 February 2018 in a burn over incident fighting a wildfire in the Simonsberg Mountains, in the Cape Winelands situated in the Western Cape Province. Winelands Fire Protection Association posted an update on their Facebook page on the Wolfkloof Fire (Simonsberg) on 5 February 2018 at 14h30, “It is with deep regret that there has been a fatality of a fire fighter when they became trapped in the fire. All other personnel are safe and accounted for. Fire fighting efforts continue in very difficult conditions due to very heavy fuel loads and limited access.”
Seokoma , an assistant project manager who worked at Working on Fire (WoF) Sekororo Base in Limpopo but resided in the Lowveld, was engulfed by flames in the Simonsberg Mountain near Klapmuts in the Western Cape. The fire started on Saturday, 3 February 2018, on the property of a forestry company and spread to the Simonsberg Mountains. Working on Fire had 25 fire fighters who provided fire suppression support and the blaze was declared as contained on Sunday at around 18h00.
Unfavourable weather conditions and a high fire danger index (FDI) saw the wildfire spread again on Monday morning. Working on Fire’s Strand team consisting of 20 fire fighters, including Seokoma, was called out again on Monday to bring it under control. Seokoma died during this operation. A Huey helicopter and fixed-wing spotter aircraft assisted in the evacuation of the remaining fire fighters from the Simonsberg Mountains.
Seokoma started at the Working on Fire Sekororo Base in Limpopo as a fire fighter in 2004 and moved up the ranks in the programme, from crew leader to instructor and to the position of base manager, which he held until his untimely death.
Working on Fire’s managing director, Trevor Abrahams, posted, “Working on Fire regrets to announce the passing of Cedrick Seokoma, who died in a burn over incident at the wildfire at Le Motte situated in the Cape Winelands in the Western Cape. Cedric was a long serving member of the Working on Fire team and rose through the ranks to become a regional manager in the Western Cape. We extend our heartfelt condolences to wife, daughter and family. May his soul rest in peace.”
“He will always be remembered by his fellow team members and the fraternity of Working on Fire for his good sense of humour and dedication to his work. On behalf of Working on Fire management and staff, we wish to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt condolences to the Seokoma family for the loss of their loved one,” said Abrahams.
Fire and Rescue International offers our deepest sympathies to his family, colleagues and friends during this sad time.
Working on Fire
Winelands Fire Protection Association