Canada’s asked South Africa’s so-called singing firefighters to go home after they went on strike while battling an out of
control wildfire near the oil city of Fort McMurray in Alberta.
President Jacob Zuma’s got involved in the matter assigning the Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa to intervene in resolving the matter.
The 301 firefighters were mostly unemployed young men trained by an organization called Working With Fire as one of the projects of the South African government’s expanded public works program
The Ottawa government called them up along with a group of American firemen.
Their supervisor Johan Heine,who’s a veteran firefighter of 30 years, says the South Africans will face internal disciplinary action over the sudden strike.
The Canadian authorities have asked him to get his team out of the country as soon as possible.
He says people in emergency services are paramount and are not supposed to strike.
The firefighters won hearts when they arrived singing.
Then they downed tools over a pay dispute.
Heine says the team has indicated that they will not leave until they receive confirmation that their pay demands will be met.
Heine he refutes claims that Working With Fire was skimming from the $170 a day the Canadians were paying, and only paying firefighters $50 a day.