Sol Plaatje Fire, Rescue and Disaster Risk Management CFO, Chief Tinus Pretorius, retires
Sol Plaatje Municipality’s senior manager for Emergency Services, Chief Tinus Pretorius, retired after a 48-year career in the South African fire service. The brigade held a retirement farewell for CFO Pretorius on Friday, 14 January 2022, in Kimberley.
Chief Pretorius started his career at the then Pretoria Fire Department in January 1974 as a junior fire fighter. In January 1981, he joined Sasol Secunda as a leading fire fighter and moved through the ranks to become the fire chief at Sasol 2 in August 1987. After the amalgamation in 1992, Chief Pretorius became chief fire officer for Sasol 2 and 3. On 1 July 1995 he was appointed as chief fire officer in Kimberley, now Sol Plaatje Municipality.
Chief Pretorius played a very active role in the Southern African Emergency Services Institute (SAESI), in which he obtained a senior membership in 1984 and became a council member in 1988. In 1995, CFO Pretorius became chairperson for the Mpumalanga Region. In 1999, he served as the SAESI representative on the National team to do investigation into the status of Fire Services in South Africa and was appointed by National Department CoGTA to lead the Category of Authorised Persons in the different Provinces to do a province by province fire services needs analysis and to collate all nine provinces needs into one National Needs Analysis (2000) Review of National Needs Analysis in (2003). In 2010 he was appointed as team leader by the National Department Provincial and Local Government to do a Fire Services 2010 Soccer World Cup readiness assessment at all host cities, training cities and services on all national main routes.
He also served as SAESI vice president from 2001 to 2003 and president from 2003 to 2005. CFO Pretorius also served as a member of the Fire Brigade’s Board from 2002 to 2009 and chairperson of the SAESI Quality Assurance Working Group from 2009 to 2021.
Chief Pretorius was involved in the development of the current NQF 4 Occupational Certificate, Fire Fighter as CEP for the LG SETA.
“The challenges to work with members of the community during emergency incidents and to sit back afterwards and to realise that my actions made a positive difference in somebody’s life on the day, is what made me become a fire fighter,” said Chief Pretorius.
When questioned about at which point in his career he realised that his ambition was to become CFO, he responded, “I had a number of goals in life and I am privileged to say I was able to meet each of my goals through hard work, the support of my family and the grace of God.”
We asked him what factors kept him in the fire service, “The fact that I am willing and able and can still make a difference.”
The biggest impact on his career thus far he cited as the changes that took place in our country and the fact that he could make a difference.
He cited a number of mentors that played a major role in his life such as Hannes de Beer, WP du Plessis, Nic Swanepoel, Chris de Wet, JAS van Straaten and Eddie Pohl Jonker. “They all were specialists within their fields of expertise and never accepted that a problem can’t be resolved. Their motto was, ‘where there is a will there is a way’”, added Chief Pretorius.
We asked Chief Pretorius about his management style and he replied that it is very democratic. “I want to see myself as a democrat because I want people to participate in the decision making process as it is the only way that they can own the decisions made.”
When asked whether he misses the operational life, he reacted, “Absolutely but there is a time to realise that you are part of senior management and need to withdraw. The fact that I could share my knowledge and expertise with the younger generation and the fact that they appreciate it was very satisfying for me.”
His advice to fire fighters and fire chiefs is, “Don’t let the challenges of today be the barriers of tomorrow. Where there is a will there is a way. We are all facing challenges every day. It is how we deal with those challenges that will determine the outcome of tomorrow.”
Photos and videos: Morné Simons, Sol Plaatje Municipality
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