THE Poyntons Building, home of the Department of Correctional Services in the Pretoria CBD, was shut down by Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga. Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
TRADE unions have welcomed the decision by executive mayor Solly Msimanga for the metro to investigate whether or not municipal buildings were compliant with health and safety regulations.

The Public Servants Association and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union have been demanding the government maintain buildings that threaten the health and safety of workers.

Msimanga made the announcement just days after he closed the non-compliant Poyntons building in the CBD, the home of the Department of Correctional Services.

He said: “I have written to the city manager instructing him to immediately institute a comprehensive investigation and report on the occupational health and safety standards, and fire compliance for City of Tshwane buildings.

“This will include buildings owned or occupied by the city. At the centre of these audits is our goal to preserve innocent lives. Naturally, government buildings house hundreds of people, thus making it all the more urgent to ensure that buildings found to be non-compliant stop operating before disaster strikes.”

The city said that it could not allow partially-compliant buildings to operate under its watch.

Although the closure of Poyntons was hailed, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, advocate Michael Masutha, was unimpressed and said he was considering legal action.

Msimanga’s administration said the Department of Labour and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union supported the city’s view that employers and workers should report unsafe working conditions to the authorities.

Last week, the Department of Labour also started to inspect Civitas building, used by the Department of Health. Staff have refused to enter the building, citing its unacceptable condition.