Minister Masutha won’t go to court over Poynton’s Building shutdown

2018-09-14 17:44
Justice Minister Michael Masutha. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

Justice Minister Michael Masutha. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)

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Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha will not challenge the shutting down of his headquarters at Poyntons Building because he is confident it will be found to be fully compliant with regulatory safety requirements.

"The minister does not believe that it is necessary at this stage to approach the courts to challenge the shutdown," Masutha's spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga, said in a statement on Friday.

This comes after Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga shut down the building, which houses the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), on the basis that it was unsafe. Staff were evacuated.

The City of Tshwane's emergency services department has since asked to engage with the building's owners about safety measures which must be undertaken.

"Given the public interest that attaches to this matter, the minister believes that the engagement between the municipality and the owners of the building must result in members of staff and the public who use the building feeling and being safe," Ratshitanga said.

"As the nerve centre of DCS, the Poyntons Building must be brought back into operation as soon as possible in order for the DCS to resume its constitutional mandate," Ratshitanga added.

Meanwhile, the Public Servants Association (PSA) that represents DCS employees has welcomed the building's closure. 

"The PSA has been raising the poor state of the building for years. Concerns related to white dust and other matters in the building which were taken up with the landlord. Despite several reports by Labour Inspectors, including a recent report that was furnished on 6 September 2018, employees were still expected to perform their duties", said PSA General Manager, Ivan Fredericks.

He added that the PSA is pursuing legal action with regards to the Civitas Building, which houses the department of health, and will monitor the situation at Poyntons. 

The safety of buildings in the province has become a matter of public interest since the Bank of Lisbon building and eight others were identified as non-compliant with health and safety requirements.

Three firefighters died last Wednesday after a fire broke out in the Bank of Lisbon building, which houses the Gauteng departments of health, human settlements and cooperative governance and traditional affairs.

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