NEWS & ANALYSIS

DA calls for resignations of MECs who failed to prevent fire – Jack Bloom

MPL says Jacob Mamabolo has admitted that the building, which is owned by his dept, was only 21% compliant

DA calls for resignations of MECs who failed to prevent fatal fire

6 September 2018

The Democratic Alliance has submitted today a motion of urgent public importance to the Gauteng Legislature which calls for two Gauteng MECs to resign over their failure to heed warnings about the unsafe Bank of Lisbon building where three firefighters died yesterday fighting a fire that broke out on the top floors.

The full motion is attached here.

We call on Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo and Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to take accountability for their failure to heed multiple warnings that the Bank Of Lisbon building was a health hazard and staff should have been moved elsewhere.

Mamabolo has admitted that the building, which is owned by his department, was only 21% compliant and contravened the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The building did not have functioning fire extinguishers, and the water pressure and emergency exit routes were inadequate.

Ramokgopa ignored persistent complaints by staff about unsafe conditions at her head office in the building where the fire broke out on the 23rd Floor. Her own office is there, so how could she have failed to see and act on the safety risks?

Ramokgopa also ignored reports by her Directorate of Occupational Hygiene Risk Management that identified “high risk unresolved challenges” in the Bank of Lisbon (BoL) building.

A report dated 26 April 2018 also complains about the Infrastructure Development representative concerning whom “there is a total lack of communications and contractors are appointed to perform tasks in the BoL without approval by the Sub Directorate Occupational Hygiene Risk Management.”

Both MECs need to be accountable for their inaction in the face of multiple warnings, which is reminiscent of the negligence and callousness that led to the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

The roof collapse at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital on 2 March 2017 should also have been a wake-up call about the dangers of poor maintenance of government buildings.

The DA is calling on the two MECs to submit their resignations for their failures in this matter, otherwise Premier David Makhura should fire them within five days.

Issued by Jack Bloom and Alan Fuchs, Gauteng Health Shadow Health MEC and Gauteng Infrastructure Development Shadow MEC, 6 September 2018