Nehawu Parliament workers demand their safety be guaranteed before returning

The union has written a letter to Presiding Officers Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula and Amos Masondo informing them of their decision.

FILE: Firefighting crews at Parliament on 3 January 2022 as they work to extinguish to last remnants of a fire that started on 2 January 2022. Picture: Saya Pierce-Jones/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - The National Education Health and Allied Workers Unions (Newhawu) said its members won't be setting foot in Parliament until their safety is guaranteed.

The union has written a letter to Presiding Officers Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula and Amos Masondo informing them of their decision.

Nehawu has also objected to the employment of cleaning contractors in their absence following the devastating fire.

The Parliamentary precinct is still relatively quiet with just a few police, Parliament officials and contractors on site.

The damaged buildings have been cordoned off with police tape to prevent unauthorised people from entering.

Nehawu branch chairperson Sthe Tembe said not a single building in Parliament meets safety standards.

"We need to protect the lives of workers... because it's clear Parliament is not safe entirely."

Tembe also noted the employment of contract cleaners following the fire.

"Once again, they've shown their arrogance to go and employ people to clean Parliament at a time when they're feigning poverty."

Parliament is expected to get a briefing on Friday on the investigation and extent of the damage.