The representatives from various trade unions met with the media to discuss government accountability and worker safety following the recent fire in Joburg CBD.
The briefing included members from National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa), National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) and Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA).
This followed a meeting the unions had with members from the provincial government to discuss the Joburg fire that occurred on 5 and 6 September which left three dead and a number of people injured.
Chairperson of Denosa Simphiwe Gada said they condemn Gauteng MEC of Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo and other politicians who are ‘saving their faces’ rather than working on the problems that affect their members.
Gada added that taxpayer money was wasted on a refurbishment of another building that the workers were to be moved to but it never happened and he called for the wasted money to be taken into account. He also said that the three firefighters who died trying to put out the fire should be given an official funeral.
Nehawu representative Gracia Rikhotso said. “As unions, we believe that this issue and the death of workers cannot be seen as an accident because officials knew about the problem.”
She said that the unions will be seeking legal action and want the officials to recuse themselves until the investigation has been concluded.
The union said that their members should not report to work from 10 September at buildings that have been identified as problems. Rikhotso said, “Our members have the support of the unions to not go to work in buildings that are not safe.”