The Star Early Edition

Gaut­eng ed­u­ca­tion staffers work in cramped of­fices

- @Zwane_2li2ils NOKUTHULA ZWANE Department of Education · Hollard · Khume Ramulifho

GAUT­ENG Department of Ed­u­ca­tion em­ploy­ees have been work­ing in di­lap­i­dated build­ings and cramped of­fices for more than two months.

This fol­lows a de­ci­sion by the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion department and the Gaut­eng Department of In­fra­struc­ture Devel­op­ment to move the staffers to three new build­ings in the Joburg CBD: 55 Fox Street and Talis Prop­erty Fund, also called the Hol­lard Build­ing, at 17 Sim­monds Street and 26 and 30 Love­day Street.

How­ever, the work­ers were forced to va­cate the 55 Fox Street build­ing be­cause of the poor work­ing con­di­tions.

While the build­ing ap­pears to have a beau­ti­ful ex­te­rior with glass walls in­side, it has cracked ceil­ings and wiring is un­cov­ered and ex­posed.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials, wa­ter leak­age af­fects their work on rainy days.

A dis­grun­tled Gaut­eng Department of Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cial, who re­quested to re­main anony­mous, told The Star that staff had been strug­gling to work at 55 Fox Street.

“In De­cem­ber 2016 some of­fi­cials moved to the Hol­lard Build­ing and around June 2017 ap­prox­i­mately 750 staff moved to Fox.

“The head of department said they should use vir­tual of­fices even though there are no re­sources for such,” said the of­fi­cial.

“The chief en­gi­neers and other tech­ni­cal peo­ple were not in­volved in the process of securing build­ings. Fol­low­ing the tech­ni­cal re­port by Gaut­eng Department of Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials, which was ig­nored by man­age­ment, the staff have been with­out of­fices for over two months,” said the of­fi­cial. “The 55 Fox Street con­crete slab has se­ri­ous cracks and un­cov­ered wires.”

The of­fi­cial said that dur­ing a re­cent se­vere storm, the build­ing in Fox Street leaked and a video recorded on the day showed staffers stand­ing around help­lessly.

“We had to evac­u­ate our peo­ple be­cause of the health and safety is­sues. It has been very dan­ger­ous for ev­ery­one,” he said.

In re­sponse to the com­plaints, the department’s spokesper­son, Steve Mabona, said a de­ci­sion was taken to va­cate the work­ers due to restora­tive work at their old build­ing.

“In the in­terim, Gaut­eng Department of Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials have been de­ployed to var­i­ous sites to con­tinue with ser­vice de­liv­ery.

“It must be noted that the department is in con­stant li­ai­son with the em­ploy­ees to up­date them with progress. We are work­ing tire­lessly to re­solve this mat­ter,” said Mabona.

Khume Ra­mulifho, DA Gaut­eng ed­u­ca­tion shadow spokesper­son, said he was “re­li­ably in­formed” that for the past two months staff had not been re­port­ing to work as they were moved from Fox Street.

“It is poor plan­ning and project man­age­ment. How do they move to such a build­ing in the first in­stance?

“The MEC for in­fra­struc­ture was brag­ging that all build­ings are in good con­di­tion,” Ra­mulifho said.

“The DA will sub­mit ques­tions to es­tab­lish why the department has sub­jected their em­ploy­ees to such a non-con­ducive work­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

Staff have been with­out of­fices for two months

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