Workers protest outside 'unsafe' Civitas Building, while another building is shut down

2019-01-22 17:21
A fire at the Bank of Lisbon building in September that claimed three lives. (Canny Maphanga, News24)

A fire at the Bank of Lisbon building in September that claimed three lives. (Canny Maphanga, News24)

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WATCH: Correctional Services employees 'fear for their lives' in 'unsafe' head office

2018-10-01 17:17

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union has picketed outside the Department of Correctional Services in Pretoria, saying employees "fear for their lives" when entering the "unsafe" Poyntons Building that houses the department. Watch.WATCH

Workers at the Civitas Building in Tshwane, which houses the national Department of Health, staged a protest outside its headquarters on Tuesday against structural challenges in the building.

Not all the workers were on strike, health department spokesperson Popo Maja told IOL.

In October 2018, employees held a protest after the Department of Labour issued a notice to the building deeming it unsafe.

The notice indicated that the building "continues to be unsafe and unhealthy for employees".

It stated that ventilation systems, activators and sprinkler systems in the building were not in working order.

ALSO READ: Health dept staff protest outside 'unsafe' Civitas Building after notice issued

The protest comes as another building in the city, which houses the Department of Economic Development and Spatial Planning, was shut down – also for health and safety compliance issues.

About 400 employees were temporarily removed from the building after "the city discovered that the building's centralised ventilation system is not functioning optimally.

"The defective system has led to poor air quality and elevated temperature levels which have affected the employees' comfort, health and safety," spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said in a statement on Monday.

The City conducted an inspection over complaints that the building's air conditioning system failed occasionally, leading to poor indoor air quality.

"The employer must provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of its employees. The City actioned an inspection to ensure that the health and safety of its employees is safeguarded," Mashigo said.

The employees, who also include those from the regional operations and coordination departments, have been moved to regional offices.

In September, the City of Tshwane shut down the Poynton's Building, which housed the Department of Correctional Services, after it was found to be non-compliant.

ALSO READ:  Tshwane building evacuated, shutdown for being unsafe

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha did not challenge the shutting down of his headquarters.

Earlier that month, the City of Johannesburg was placed in the spotlight after a blaze at the non-compliant Bank of Lisbon building claimed the lives of three firefighters. The building housed the Gauteng departments of health, human settlements and co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

ALSO READ: Makhura under the spotlight again - this time for deadly Joburg blaze

The building is set to be demolished soon and the department of health's staff have been moved to Commissioner Street in Johannesburg.

The Gauteng Department of Public Works is yet to respond to a query about where the employees of the Department of Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs have been moved to.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  protests  |  service delivery
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