'Arson, sabotage attempts at Department of Health headquarters'
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Pretoria - There were two arson attempts and various other acts of sabotage at the Department of Health headquarters in Pretoria this week, Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi announced.
Nxesi made the statement in a joint media on Friday morning with Minister Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in Hatfield, Pretoria.
Nxesi said: "Civitas is a state of the art building which has been poorly maintained and Public Works must take responsibility for that.
"Poor maintenance - in part - resulted in the malfunctioning of the air-conditioning, in particular. As a result, employees - legitimately - protested their working conditions.
"However, we strongly reject the sensationalist headlines suggesting that the Department of Health Civitas building is a 'death trap' because the building has never been declared uninhabitable by any appropriate and authorised institutions that undertook an assessment of the building."
Nxesi said there were acts of criminality that intensified in the past two weeks and they targeted five security features like smoke detectors, fire sirens, integrated sprinklers system throughout the building, fire hose reels and portable fire extinguishers.
Motsoaledi condemned all these actions and said it was wrong for people to try and burn the building just to convince the department further that the department was poorly maintained.
Nxesi said he could not confirm if these attempts could be related to the fire in a government building in Johannesburg but a forensic report would reveal everything.