Officials at the Department Environmental Affairs have downed tools as they had to evacuate a building in Suid Street early this week as it is claimed that the structure might collapse at any time due to lack of maintenance.
According to a source, who do business with the department, officials have been out of the office since Monday while only two stayed. He alleged that no one was allowed in the building because they claim that it was not safe and might collapse at any time. He further alleged that the decision to evacuate the building followed a recent incident in Johannesburg where a building caught fire and claimed the lives of three firefighters.
After the incident officials of the Department of Environmental Affairs in Limpopo evaluated the structure and it was concluded that it was not safe anymore and major maintenance is required, a source lamented.
Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (Ledet) spokesperson Burckels Napo confirmed the occurrence and reiterated that the head of department, Solly Kgopong recently assessed the building and concluded that it needed maintenance and the decision to evacuate the building was also taken by him. He stated that officials gathered at Ledet offices to raise their concerns and demanded to be housed in another building which will accommodate them all to be able to function as a team.
“We are not going to demolish the structure; we are going to perform general maintenance such as repairing broken ceiling, doors and lights among others. We are still looking for offices for officials to continue with their duties and maintenance will be performed in due course. Unfortunately we are not sure as to when the maintenance will be completed and we are not informed about the two officials who remained at the premises,” Napo explained.
Polokwane Observer visited the premises earlier today (Thursday) and only two security guards were found and did not want to respond to any questions relating to the matter.
Story and photo: ENDY SENYATSI