The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Gauteng is not surprised by the fire that broke out today at the offices of the provincial Department of Health in downtown Johannesburg because as trade unions we have long raised this issue but to noavail. As a result, a three lives have been lost.
Gauteng Health and Infrastructure must take the blame for these deaths as they could have been avoided if they took the safety of the employees seriously.
As recently as Friday, organised labour warned the employer on this urgent matter at the multilateral meeting where we called to be the issued with the occupational health and safety certificate of the building as the Department had reneged on an earlier commitment to move employees working at the provincial Department of Health to a safer building before a tragedy strikes.
We are calling for those responsible for infrastructure to be held responsible for this negligence and must face the full consequences.
While the investigation will have to be undertaken on the cause of the fire, however, DENOSA finds it quite interesting that the fire broke out on the 23rd floor where the legal department is. Our finding it interesting is that the legal department is busy conducting an investigation on corruption within the department, where culprits who have been draining the coffers of the department could be pinpointed. We hope there is no foul play.
Furthermore, the fire at the department offices signals the poor state of conditions in many health facilities in the province, where workers work under risky conditions and nothing gets addressed with the necessary speed.
DENOSA Gauteng further calls on the workers who have been told to report back to work tomorrow at a different location not to do so but rather the Department of health must provide counselling to these employees for the trauma they experienced.
DENOSA sends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the fire fighters whose lives were lost while trying to put out the fire. We also wish the other rescuers and workers a speedy recovery.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Gauteng