The National Department of Health doesn’t really cover itself in glory, with the Life Esidimeni tragedy just the latest in a long line of major fiascos.
Then again, name a state department that does cover itself in glory – I’ll wait.
Surely, though, keeping the department’s headquarters clean and functioning shouldn’t be that hard? Incorrect, because when the Citizen visited the Civitas building in Pretoria’s CBD, they found a complete and utter shambles.
All of these images taken by Jacques Nelles:
The state of the department of health’s headquarters in Pretoria hopefully does not reflect the state of the country’s public healthcare system, since that would place it firmly in the intensive care unit…
The PSA [Public Servants’ Association of SA] filed an urgent application at the High Court in Pretoria yesterday to force the department to address its concerns … [that]their workers were forced to risk their health by going to work.
Employees are risking their health to go to work at the health department. You can’t make it up:
It has only been eight years since the building was renovated. Built to house 800 people, the 29-storey south tower had to accommodate nearly 2 000 staff members.
“It has 29 floors but none of the aircons work. We have no windows, so we all breathe the same air. It makes us dizzy and nonproductive,” one of the workers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from their employer, told The Citizen.
…at least nine of the 12 entrance doors that operate on a biometric system had “out of order” stickers pasted on the glass panels.
“These haven’t been working since they were installed. You can just walk through. The department pays money each month for the biometric systems to be maintained, but they are out of order,” said PSA’s Peter Moloi.
That’s just entering the building. What reporters saw inside is far worse:
In each room we entered, at least a portion of the ceiling had collapsed. According to the protesting workers, this was due to constant burst water pipes, which often left the carpeted floors flooded…
“The water here isn’t even clean. Most of the workers have to bring their own water while some have to boil the tap water from this building before drinking it,” said another worker.
Another employee said a pipe had burst on the 22nd floor, leaving a foul stench and sewage soaking the carpets.
On reaching the building’s upper levels, the smell of the mouldy carpets kicked in and it was easy to imagine the humidity and stuffiness once all 2 000 employees had clocked in for work.
In a classic case of pissing money down the (probably blocked and stinking) drain, each corner of the building has a surveillance camera, but none of them work.
They have never worked, you see, and are essentially very expensive display items used for decoration. The microwave, located on the sixth floor, has an ‘out of order’ notice stuck to it.
With a blaze having torn through the department’s building in Jozi earlier this week, which resulted in the death of three firefighters, amongst others, staff in the Pretoria building are worried about something similar:
[They] were concerned that their building’s intercom, which is used in emergencies, was also out of order, and that they would be caught totally unawares should a similar tragedy occur.
“The fire extinguishers are not serviced or maintained. Instead, they just put a new sticker on them to pretend they are serviced.
“Even the fire sprinklers on the ceilings are not working.
“We once had a fire drill, but some of us didn’t know about it because the intercom is not working.”
To summarise, it’s just a complete and utter shitshow, and is a great indication of just how inept our government is at doing even the bare minimum on their down doorstep.
I’d be willing to bet that the offices of Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, also located in the Pretoria building, are well maintained.
OJ Simpson's car chase back in 1994, when he drove his white Ford Bronco truck through sou...
I'm never going to be one of those people that owns hundreds of pairs of shoes, but it's a...
[imagesource:here] Given that avos cost a small fortune, and even more so during certai...
[imagesource:here] WhatsApp has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate, and ...
[imagesource: Bonnie Burton/CNET] The robots that have been making headlines over the p...