Gauteng MEC of Infrastructure Development Tasneem Motara said her department is planning on implementing the Kopanong Precinct Project which will see the full refurbishment of all 18 Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) owned buildings in the Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD).
Motara was addressing the media in Marshalltown, Johannesburg on Tuesday.
She said during 2017 the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) initiated a project to do condition assessments on all occupied buildings.
The assessment was completed at the end of August 2018, a few weeks before the Bank of Lisbon fire incident in September 2018 which was the headquarters for the department of health and human settlements, as well as the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.
Motara said following the incident, the affected buildings were voluntarily evacuated and the department undertook emergency Occupational Health and Safety (HOS) compliance activities such as clearing fire escape routes, ensuring that signage was put up and visible, air and water quality assessments as well as training of staff from various Departments on OHS.
She added that they have finalised the procurement of office accommodation for the Departments of Health and Human Settlements.
“The Department of Health has already moved, and the Department of Human Settlements will be settled by the end of November,” said Motara.
Motara also added that on buildings that the government leases, the owners have been issued compliance notices.
“We have issued landlords who own the 13 buildings we are leasing on behalf of GPG with the necessary compliance notices in order to improve on the Occupational Health and Safety of all employees that are currently in those buildings,” she said.
The Department said some departments will be moved from their current office buildings as a maintenance plan to implement OHS processes.
The Department of Human Settlements will move to 17 Diagonal and CoGTA will move to 30 Simmonds. The remaining tenants which are the DID will be returned to Corner House.
Motara said this move is expected to be completed by end of November 2019.
“We are committed to house our tenants in fully compliant, safe and reliable facilities so that service delivery provided by GPG will not be adversely affected at any point.”
Motara also shared the department’s plans in relation to OHS on Health facilities.
She said the GPG’s focus is to shift away from developing new infrastructure to ensuring that existing infrastructure is sufficiently provisioned for regarding maintenance and upkeep.
“As announce in my budget speech earlier in the year, work is underway to ensure the following hospitals are refurbished and maintained in line with the norms and standards, these hospitals are Mamelodi, Tembisa, Sebokeng, Tambo, Bheki Mlangeni and Jubilee Hospital,” said Motara.
“Following discussions between myself and the MEC of Health, a decision was taken to include all 26 facilities in the project of upgrading, refurbishing and maintenance.”
She said this OHS project on Health facilities will see 32 Hospitals being fully refurbished in line with the conditions assessment report that was conducted.
Motara said they are doing all they can to ensure that the events of September 2018 at the Bank of Lisbon building do not happen again.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.