You’ll forgive us for being a bit cynical whenever we hear Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi holding forth about his grandiose plans to transform health services. The man cannot even keep his own workers safe in their offices.
This much became clear this week when warnings from civil servants and their unions, that the Civitas Building (Motsoaledi’s headquarters) in Pretoria was unsafe, came true in dramatic fashion. Chunks of the ceiling fell down into offices, following heavy rain in the area. The basement parking was also flooded in places.
Workers have been protesting their unsafe circumstance since earlier this year, and have been working from the Civitas foyer, which they say is the safest part of the building. When the department of labour effectively condemned Civitas as a health and safety hazard and ordered it evacuated, Motsoaledi promptly appealed, meaning it is still in use.
We realise that it will be expensive and inconvenient to relocate the department’s office until the building is made safe and habitable, but no price should be attached to human life.
It is also tragically ironic that a minister who should be leading by example allows this to continue.
Does someone have to die, Doctor, before you accept the cure?