Public Works in shocking shape

2010-02-03 00:00

DEPARTMENT of Public Works corporate services offices in Langalibalele Street ground to a halt yesterday morning as employees took to the street in protest against the poor condition of the building that houses their offices.

In an ironic twist, the department, which serves to renovate other government buildings in the pro­vince, is housed in a building that is in a poor structural condition.

The Witness yesterday toured the interior of the building and found that some of the windows do not open, the toilets are without light bulbs, one of the sinks is blocked, the lifts do not work reliably, and the overloaded distribution box apparently sparks and regularly trips the power.

It is also not a conducive environment for disabled employees as there are no ramps. Air-conditioners in some offices do not work and have been removed, leaving gaping holes in the walls.

A worker said that when they moved to the building five years ago, it was already in a poor condition.

He said that for the past five years they have been tole­rant of the situation as they were under the impression that there were plans to reverse the neglect. He said the situation became intolerable after a pipe burst and flooded the building.

“On Saturday, a fire hose pipe burst and flooded the building. Although a contractor was called in to clean up the water, there is a terrible stench in the building because the carpet got wet and now smells.

“We also could not work on Monday because the building was still unsafe,” the source added.

Yesterday, all the employees stood outside their offices in protest against the poor working conditions.

The workers’ sentiments were echoed by Phiweyo Duma, general manager of corporate services, who described the building as “rubbish”.

“The irony is that we are the department of Public Works. We renovate buildings, but we are using such a run-down building as our own offices.”

Duma said it is planned to relocate the employees to another building.

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