DA lays criminal charges against Gauteng MECs over Joburg buiding fire

The Democratic Alliance laid charges of culpable homicide on Tuesday against three Gauteng MECs and heads of four provincial government departments for their "negligence" that led to the deaths of three firefighters after a fire broke out in the Bank of Lisbon building earlier this month.

"The major share of blame lies with Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo, whose department owns the building, and Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa who failed to ensure that her department, as the major tenant of the building, had a fully functioning Occupational Health and Safety Committee in place," the DA's Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom and infrastructure development spokesperson Alan Fuchs said in a statement.

Bloom and Fuchs said that both Mamabolo and Ramokgopa had ignored multiple warnings from staff and unions that the building was unsafe.

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They added that Human Settlements, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Uhuru Moiloa, who had staff in the building, also had a degree of culpability, which was "lessened somewhat as he was only appointed in March this year".

The DA said it believed that, among other statutes, Section 38(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993, Section 20(2) of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, Act 103 of 1977, and Section 4 (1) of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act of 2007 had been contravened.

"The DA has laid these detailed charges as we are determined to ensure accountability and consequences for politicians and officials who failed in their duty to take the statutory preventive measures that would have averted this disastrous fire," Bloom and Fuchs said.

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