Safety concerns at Gordhan’s department building
PUBLIC Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s department is preparing to move after workers complained about a lack of safe drinking water and a poorly maintained building.
The department’s head office in Arcadia, Tshwane, is unsuitable for human habitation, according to the Public Servants Association (PSA).
The PSA’s Claude Naiker told Independent Media yesterday that there were also problems with electricity, and the sprinkler system not functioning. If a fire broke out lives could be lost, warned. He said the 180 staff had complained about poor water quality caused by old pipes.
The building in Hamilton Street also housed the offices of Gordhan, his deputy, Phumulo Masualle, director-general Kgathatso Tlhakudi and other senior officials, he said.
According to Naiker, the PSA had held several meetings to try to get employees moved to another building. However, there has been a delay in finding alternative office space as this process is managed by the Public Works and Infrastructure Department.
He said the Department of Public Enterprises had written to the National Treasury asking that the procurement process be expedited. The safety of employees was more important than procurement processes, he said.
Richard Mantu, the department’s spokesperson, said staff have been provided with water while the landlord is in the process of flushing some of the potable water plumbing.
“Some of these pipes, based on the testing conducted on the insistence of the department, had been found to have a higher than normal microbial count,” he said.
Last month, after being told that the water in the building was not safe to drink, the PSA wrote to Tlhakudi demanding clarity.
The department had told staff to bring their own drinking water.