Building ‘falling apart’

2016-03-23 06:00
MORE than 60 workers, including 35 social workers from the Department of Social Development, picketed outside the dilapidated Thusanong Building in Dr Belcher Road, Bloemfontein. The building has been without water for weeks and workers say they have to use a nearby field to relieve themselves. Photo: Marietjie Gericke

MORE than 60 workers, including 35 social workers from the Department of Social Development, picketed outside the dilapidated Thusanong Building in Dr Belcher Road, Bloemfontein. The building has been without water for weeks and workers say they have to use a nearby field to relieve themselves. Photo: Marietjie Gericke

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More than 60 workers, including 35 social workers from the Department of Social Development, picketed outside the dilapi­dated Thusanong Building in Dr Belcher Road, Bloemfontein.

Following weeks of no water on the premises, workers said they are forced to use a nearby field to relieve themselves.

The rundown building is littered with broken windows and worn-out ceilings.

Workers rubbished the department for failing to hear their grievances concerning the building, which, according to them, has apparently been declared a “disaster waiting to happen” by the Department of Public Works.

Lindiwe Robertson, the manager of the 35 social workers, said she was not allowed to speak to the media and referred Volksblad, parent paper of Express, to the spokesperson for the Department of Social Development, Lerato Kapane.

The Free State MEC for Social Development, Sisi Ntombela, referred Express to the MEC for Public Works, Dora Kotzee, as the matter falls under Kotzee’s jurisdiction. Among the complaints is that workers have to work daily in the dangerous, filthy and stinking building, which poses a health threat.

According to the workers, management officials who used to occupy office space were moved to another building.

“The lifts are not working, there is no water and the building is falling apart,” said one of the workers who wished to remain anonymous.

Cleaners also complained that they have not received cleaning materials over the past couple of months and due to this they end up doing nothing.

Social workers also slammed the department for failing to procure laptops and cellular phones for social workers doing field work, while still expecting monthly reports from them.

The spokesperson for the Department of Public Works, Bandile Ntombela, said the departments of Labour, Public Works and Social Development went to the building to inspect the allegations.

According to Ntombela, the third floor of the building, where the toilets are based, has been shut down due to sanitation issues.

The department is looking into relocating workers to the Ratlou Complex, a multi­government facility in Thaba Nchu, as a temporary measure.

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