Police housed at unsafe building, says Popcru

Popcru members. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Popcru members. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Published Feb 22, 2024


The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) in Gauteng says it is disheartened and dismayed by the state the Telkom Towers complex in Pretoria - housing SAPS members - is in.

The union’s provincial secretary, Lerata Motsiri, said there had always been a consensus that health and safety constituted a fundamental right at workplaces and that it must always be applicable.

Motsiri said the union had since September 21, 2021, taken measures to oppose the re-occupation of the complex, which was initially set for November 1 2021, without success.

“This has and continues to subsequently place workers occupying the building under an imminent health catastrophe since there is yet to be a proven record from the Department of Public Works of a Structural Engineering Certificate which can attest to the Notice of Completion of Work and the readiness of the Telkom Towers ostensibly conducted in 2021.

“Accordingly, the Department of Labour and Employment is in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, as amended, the custodian of health and safety through its inspectors.

“It appears, unless the contrary is clarified, that the functions of the inspectors mentioned were deliberately disregarded in the final determination of whether the Telkom Towers building ticked all health and safety requirements checklist boxes,” he said.

Motsiri said no inspection had ever been done at the building nor there was a notice of completion of work and readiness at the building occupied by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

He said the occupancy of the building was rushed, saying that explained the continued need to fix electrical installation defects for over 24 months so far.

“Based on our investigations, there continue to be alarming defects such as dysfunctional lifts, poor ventilation, extremely dirty carpets, non-functional windows, insufficient lighting at most workstations, the poor state of ablution facilities, water leakages and inadequate storage facilities, to name a few.

“There is a debilitating lack of access to cellphone networks in the building, a challenge which has been there since occupation during the year 2021; thus, leaving many of the building employees with no communication with the outside world, an unthinkable situation in case of any catastrophic emergency,” Motsiri said.

“It is further demanded that a valid Certificate of Occupancy issued by the local authority must be made available to the union as well as a Structural Engineering Certificate from a reputable entity which certifies that the Telkom Towers building is structurally solid for occupation.

“There are no readily available maintenance records since 2021 and it is demanded that a Maintenance Strategic Plan for the future must be shared with all stakeholders.”

Public Works Departmental spokesperson Busisiwe Mrawu was not able to comment at the time of going to print.

The Star