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Nehawu says its members will not report for work at unsafe govt buildings

This comes after the Lisbon building in Johannesburg caught fire on Wednesday, leaving three firefighters dead.

FILE: A firefighting crew assess the damage to a building in the Johannesburg CBD on 6 Septemer 2018. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says its members will not be going to work at any of the eight Gauteng government buildings deemed unsafe in the province.

This comes after the Lisbon building in Johannesburg caught fire on Wednesday, leaving three firefighters dead.

That government building housed three departments and was only 21% compliant with Health and Safety Regulations.

The trade union says members should not be expected to put their lives at risk for a government which has facilities which do not meet health and safety standards.

Nehawu says until all buildings listed as unsafe are habitant conducive, their members should be taken to alternative buildings or allowed to stay home.

Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe says the government will not put the lives of its workers at risk.

“We share their concerns and we’re doing everything, as the Gauteng provincial government, to ensure that any building where we place the workers is indeed safe.”

He says processes are underway to deal with the matter.

“[And] should it be found that any of the buildings do not meet the minimum requirements for Occupational Health and Safety we will not send our staff to those buildings.”

At the same time, Nehawu says it’s willing to approach the courts to ensure that occupational safety is fully adhered to.

LISTEN: #JoburgFire: Building safety compliance in the spotlight

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)