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07 September 2018

Hospersa has critised the Gauteng Department of Health (DoH) for the fire that claimed the lives of three fire fighters at Bank of Lisbon Building yesterday. The Union has consistently complained about the building which houses the Gauteng DoH and the Gauteng Department of Human Settlement.  Hospersa has demanded that all government officials that ignored the warning signs regarding the poor safety conditions of the building to be held accountable and all staff members to be relocated to a safer building.

 On Wednesday, a fire broke out at the Bank of Lisbon building, Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD).  It is reported that the fire broke out on the 23rd floor of the building.  Emergency services was dispatched to the scene to offer assistance with evacuation and containing the blaze.  Unfortunately three firefighters lost their lives while close to fifteen (15) people were taken to hospital for treatment and smoke inhalation.  Hospersa has blamed the Gauteng DoH for its sluggish approach in addressing the genuine safety concerns regarding the building.

 “We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased,” said Hospersa Public Relations Officer Kevin Halama.  “Their deaths could have been avoided had the Gauteng DoH listened to our concerns regarding the safety and maintenance of this building.  Hospersa was at the forefront of raising the alarm bells regarding the building’s poor state since 2011 yet our concerns fell on deaf ears,” said Halama.

It was reported that Gauteng’s Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Infrastructure stated that the building was just 21% complaint with occupation, health and safety standards while ideally the building should be 85% complaint.  It was also reported that fire fighters took time to put out the blaze due to a lack of sufficient water pressure in the building which is an important safety requirement.

“Dilapidated buildings have become the face of the public sector whereby our members are forced to work in deplorable conditions,” said Halama.  “We demand that the Bank of Lisbon building be condemned for occupation and all staff members must be relocated to a safer working environment.  We also demand that all government officials that ignored our calls for the relocation of staff members to be held accountable,” added Halama.

 “Gross Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) violations should be given the urgent attention it deserves as they could give rise to an even bigger disaster as was the case on Wednesday when three families lost their loved ones,” concluded Halama. 




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