With badly burnt hands that were injured in a fire that killed three of their colleagues, Bereng Moleko and Levhuwani Maumela will finally be reunited with their families after spending two months in hospital.
The two firefighters were part of the group of firemen who rushed to the Bank of Lisbon building on September 5 when it went up in flames. Simphiwe Moropane, Khathutsheli Muedi and Mduduzi Ndlovu died after being trapped inside the 23rd floor of the building, where the fire had started.
Allegations are that the men were trapped by a magnetic door that had not been disengaged at the time of the fire. As there was no fire escape in the building, one plunged to his death after slipping and falling out the window he just broke to be able to breathe. One was burnt to death and the other died of smoke inhalation.
According to Nana Radebe of the Joburg Emergency Services (EMS), Moleko and Maumela have had six operations on their badly injured hands which burnt at the time that they used them to protect their faces from the raging fire. She said while the men will still go back to working as firefighters, it was going to be a long road for them.
"Both Maumela's hands were burnt while only Moleko's left hand was burnt. They had six operations so far and for a long time they could not even bend their hands. They can use their hands now although they are not fully functional.
"They still have to undergo intensive physiotherapy," Radebe said.
The men's doctor has allegedly said they will be able to go back to work and continue with their fire fighting functions.
However, Radebe said it was expected that the men would be undergoing physiotherapy for about a year. In the meantime, she said, they would be give other tasks within the EMS while they are still working towards the full functioning of their hands.
Michael Sun, Joburg MMC for Public Safety as well as EMS Acting Chief Arthur Mqwa were expected to be at Milpark Hospital on Monday morning to wish the men well as they start their recovery at home.