We realise Tshwane executive mayor Solly Msimanga is the king of the photo opportunity and that he and his DA colleagues are adept at political points-scoring against the ANC-led government. Yet, what Msimanga did in Pretoria this week was an act of civic responsibility.
He and his metro staff descended on the Poynton’s Building, home to the department of correctional services and a number of other government departments. The officials involved in the raid summarily closed the building down and ordered all people out – because it is a fire death trap.
Msimanga was cheered by some of the building’s workers, who have been trying to get their bosses to act on complaints that the building is a health hazard.
In Johannesburg, a similar failure to adhere to safety standards cost three firefighters their lives last week when the building housing, among others, the Gauteng department of health, caught fire. The brave firefighters should have had water reserves inside the building to help them – but these did not exist, because those in charge simply didn’t care.
It is wrong that government employees should risk their lives just going to work. It is wrong that a corrupt and inefficient government cannot maintain even the most basic safety regulations.