Three firefighters died when a building in the Johannesburg CBD caught fire in September. FILE PHOTO: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday said it supported the referral of the Bank of Lisbon fire to the Public Protector by a Gauteng Health Department employee.

DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom said many questions remained about the cause of the fire. 

Last year, on September 5, three firefighters died after a fire started on the 23rd floor of the department’s head office. 

"I am concerned that the police investigation is making poor progress after I laid various criminal charges last year against three Gauteng MECs and senior officials for their negligence in this matter," said Bloom. 

He said the African National Congress in Gauteng has brushed aside accountability for its failure to prevent the fire, and voted down the DA’s motion in the Gauteng Legislature for implicated MECs to resign or be fired.

"Complaints from staff about poor conditions at the building were ignored by former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and current MEC Gwen Ramokgopa," said Bloom.

"There needs to be accountability for the fact that the building was only 21% compliant with safety regulations according to a report released shortly before the fire." 

Bloom said the Public Protector’s investigation should supplement other investigations in ensuring that justice prevails in this traumatic event that laid bare the ANC’s incompetent governance in the province. 

African News Agency/ANA