SINCE the Bank of Lisbon fire, security guards have been left sitting around in chairs on the pavement outside the stricken building. Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

The Gauteng Department of Health is paying nearly R200 000 every month to guard the Bank of Lisbon building - which caught fire on September 5, leading to the tragic deaths of three firefighters.

Mduduzi Ndlovu, 40, Simphiwe Moropane, 28, and Khathutshelo Muedi, 37 died after being trapped in the building.
As there was no fire escape in the building, one plunged to his death after slipping and falling out the window he just broke to be able to breathe.One died smoke inhalation and the other burnt to death.

The building, which was only 21% compliant with safety and health regulations, was used to house three provincial departments: Health, Co-operative governance and Human Settlements.

Government workers have been relocated to other buildings since the blaze but there are security guards permanently stationed outside the building, which has been sealed off while investigations into the cause of the fire continue.

Health Department spokesperson Lesemang Matuka said they were still contracted to the security company on a month-to-month basis at a cost of R174 993 a month.