South Africa 14.9.2018 11:52 am

Protests about state of Bank of Lisbon building were ignored in 2015 already

Firefighters continue to battle the fire in the Department of Health building in the Johannesburg CBD for the second day, 6 September 2018.  Picture: Neil McCartney

Firefighters continue to battle the fire in the Department of Health building in the Johannesburg CBD for the second day, 6 September 2018. Picture: Neil McCartney

The opposition says evidence is mounting that the ANC government not only ignored warnings but victimised those who complained.

Evidence is building that the Gauteng provincial government allegedly wilfully ignored multiple warnings and protests that the Bank of Lisbon building was unsafe, the DA has said.

In a press release on Friday, shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom said there had been a major demonstration by Gauteng health department staff outside the building in November 2015.

He said he had warned at the time that the staff had valid grievances that should have been addressed long ago already.

“Unions also complained at various times but were brushed aside and even victimised for raising safety issues.”

He said it had emerged that at least 10 of the building’s 24 floors were non-compliant before the fire and should have been evacuated. The lack of water had also been a major factor that had hindered firefighters and contributed to the deaths of three firemen. They were being laid to rest on Friday morning.

“A judicial commission of inquiry is needed to give a truly independent assessment of all the warnings that were ignored, very much like the Esidimeni disaster in which 144 mental health patients lost their lives,” said Bloom.

“It is already clear, however, that infrastructure development MEC Jacob Mamabolo and health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa were inexcusably delinquent in this matter, and should resign or be fired by Premier David Makhura.”

 

07

today in print