Workers in the office of Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale have threatened to revolt against their relocation to a building they claim is uninhabitable.
Dozens of officials in the performance, monitoring and evaluation unit have been instructed to relocate to a building that was abandoned by the province’s sport, arts and culture department three years ago.
They are based at Mowaneng Building, the main building for the premier’s office. But the state of the earmarked building at the corner of Market and Grobler streets in the CBD is said to pose a danger to occupants.
Though a few officials have already moved, the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) threatened to resume lunch-time pickets if the relocation was not halted.
The union’s Norman Mavhunga said the majority of officials who were being moved were union officials who previously organised lunchtime pickets against Mathale and the province’s director-general, Rachel Molepo-Modipa.
An official in the sport, arts and culture department, who previously worked in the building, expressed shock at the relocation.
“I can’t believe they are moving people into that building again… I needed a boat to get out of my office because it was full of water that had leaked from the pipes,” said the official, who requested not to be named.
Some senior officials in the premier’s office have also expressed concern at the alleged appalling conditions of the building.
The Star has seen correspondence in which Steve Tiba, senior general manager for performance, monitoring and evaluation, seems to indicate that the building “does not meet the basic requirements for occupation”.
In an email, Tiba purportedly sent to Molepo-Modipa this week, he pointed out that the atmosphere at the building was not “conducive for officials to operate in”.
“One complete wing of the building has been without any water supply for weeks now,” he said.
Officials had no access to phones or the internet, Tiba said. “It is a sad indictment on the department where officials have to rely on internet café services to execute their normal duties as well as risking exposing some very sensitive government documents in the process,” a senior general manager said.
“Unless one walks with extreme caution in certain parts of the office where wooden panels have been removed… one risks sustaining serious bodily injuries,” added Tiba.
The general manager could not be reached for comment on Tuesday and the Star was not allowed access to the building.
At the time of going to press, Limpopo government spokesman Tebatso Mabitsela had not responded to questions. - The Star