Department of Employment and Labour closes down Saps and SANDF buildings due to health and safety risks

Members of the SANDF

Members of the SANDF

Published Feb 29, 2024


The Department of Labour and Employment’s inspectors will close the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Telkom Towers building in Pretoria.

The Telkom Towers used to host police officers in it.

This is after The Star exposed the building’s poor compliance with regards to health and safety issues.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) in Gauteng secretary’s Lerata Motsiri welcomed the closing of the building.

Motsiri said they felt vindicated by this action over this long-standing problem, which she felt could have potentially led to the loss of lives.

She said the union had picked up and raised their concerns countless times since the year 2021.

“Since then, POPCRU has been sharply raising issues around the lack of compliance, leading to a series of engagements and serving the employer with letters of concern.

“The recent development, with the reports by the inspection team absolves us in many ways, including the fact that there are no less than 7 Prohibition Notices which effectively declare Telkom Towers as inaccessible until such time that there is full compliance with such prohibition notices,” she added.

Motsiri further said the union will be closely monitoring the process, and championing the health and safety standards of all affected parties, regardless of affiliation.

The union has opposed the re-occupation of the complex since September 21 of 2021, without success.

“This has and continues to subsequently place workers occupying the building under an imminent health catastrophe since there is yet to be a proven record from the Department of Public Works of a Structural Engineering Certificate which can attest to the Notice of Completion of Work and the readiness of the Telkom Towers ostensibly conducted in 2021.

“Accordingly, the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) is in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, as amended, the custodian of health and safety through its inspectors,” Motsiri detailed at the time.

She furthermore said there were no inspection conducted at the building nor there was a notice of completion of work and readiness at the building occupied by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Meanwhile, The South African Air Force (SAAF) has also temporarily shut down its headquarters building in Pretoria, on Tuesday, due to the malfunctioning of its ventilation system, which has caused unsafe working conditions for employees.

According to reports, the defence headquarters was shutdown after the DEL conducted an inspection of the building.

The SAAF building woes dated back to two years ago. Recently it was reported that it got extremely when temperatures rise, with such heat affecting the computer servers resulting in them overheating frequently.

In their communique, the SAAF ordered its employees to work from home between February 26 and March 11 of 2024.

According to the military, the Chief Air Policy, and Plans (CDAPP) will be relocating to the Directorate Air Force Acquisition (DAFA) at Air Force Base Waterkloof, other Chief Directors will be at the Africa Aerospace and Defence office at Waterkloof.

The South African National Defence Union (SANDU) in January, issued a complaint to Mbambo about the detrimental state at Air Force HQ, pursuing the legal route for alternative solutions.

SANDU said it had investigated with the DEL when the department visited the premises on February 23, and issued a 7-day (seven day) notice for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, thus leading to the shutdown of the building.

The Star

Hope Mafu

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