Joburg building fire: DA motion to force MECs to resign fails

A motion brought on Tuesday by the DA in the Gauteng legislature calling for infrastructure development MEC Jacob Mamabolo and health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to resign has failed.

The motion was voted down by 32 votes against 22. The EFF abstained from voting and there were other abstentions, DA member of the provincial legislature Jack Bloom told News24.

The DA believes that there needs to be accountability for unsafe provincial buildings that endanger staff, and that the inaction in the face of multiple warnings is "reminiscent of the negligence and callousness that led to the Life Esidimeni tragedy".

It called on Mamabolo and Ramokgopa to submit their resignations for their failures in this matter, "failing which the honourable Premier David Makhura should fire them within five days".

The motion came almost two months after the tragic fire at the Bank of Lisbon Building in Johannesburg.

"There needs to be accountability, not only for the fire, but for all unsafe provincial buildings that endanger staff," Bloom said in a statement.

Firefighters killed

The party was calling for Mamabolo and Ramokgopa to resign over their "failure to heed multiple warnings" that the building was a health hazard and staff should have been moved elsewhere.

Three firefighters – Simphiwe Moropane, Mduduzi Ndlovu and Kathutshelo Muedi – were killed and many others injured after the fire broke out in the building on September 5.

Last month, the DA laid charges of culpable homicide against three Gauteng MECs and heads of four provincial government departments, claiming that their "negligence" had led to the tragedy.

READ: DA lays criminal charges against Gauteng MECs over Joburg building fire

The party 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.

News24 previously reported that the SACP had defended Mamabolo, who is a member of the party. 

"Now is not the time for politicking," provincial chairperson Joe Mpisi told News24 at the time.

Mpisi had also questioned the DA's decision to lay all the blame on provincial government leaders, while disregarding the fact that the Johannesburg building was situated in a city run by the DA.

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