Director-general at the department Dr Malebona Precious Matsoso has told stakeholders she had written to Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi asking for the evacuation of the building.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) have led countless protests in the past year. For months the workers refused to go past the foyer, claiming the building was unsafe.
Matsoso said: “I also wrote to the office of the National Treasury to request funding for the evacuation, and the response was that the matter must be discussed by the Public Works and Health department.”
Delegates from stakeholder parties met again yesterday to discuss terms of reference for the temporary move.
PSA chairperson at the department Peter Moloi said: “The meeting was fruitful and we had officials from public works tell us what we would need, as we go into this procurement process. We put all the terms of reference on the table and all that's left is for Matsoso to sign them.
“We also learnt that Public Works may need a few months to help with this process because they would need to advertise a tender and iron out procurement matters.”
Nehawu shop steward Bhungani Mzolo said: “We are very happy because after a lot of months of protests and people falling ill, the building will be evacuated. Our members are impressed by Matsoso’s announcement.
“She didn't waste time when we met. She just told us we need a task team to find an alternative building.”
Moloi said this was the best decision the department could make to ensure the safety and health of the staff in the building. At the next meeting with Matsoso the unions would ask what happens to workers who have not be going past the foyer for the duration of the procurement process.