Cabinet sends condolences to fallen firefighters

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Cabinet has sent its condolences to the families of three firefighters who lost their lives while trying to respond to a fire that erupted at a government-owned building on Wednesday.

“On behalf of the South African government in its entirety, we would wish to convey our sincerest condolences to the family of the firefighters that lost their lives while trying to extinguish the fire.

“We wish a speedy recovery to those that have been admitted to various hospitals in Gauteng.

“We also hope that through Minister Thulas Nxesi who left Cape Town yesterday to be in the province, that we will get an updated feedback on the status of the building, including what led to the fire ravaging the building,” said Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane at a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department said the building was not compliant with occupational health and safety standards.

“The Department of Infrastructure Development had for some time been concerned with the state of government buildings and in 2017 commissioned an assessment for occupational health and safety.

“The report which was presented in August 27, 2018, revealed that The Bank of Lisbon [which housed the provincial offices] was non-compliant with occupational health and safety standards. The building only had 21% compliance against the norm of 85%,” said the Gauteng Health Department in a statement.

The blaze, at the Gauteng Health, Human Settlements and Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs office building reignited again on Thursday morning.

The fire has since spread to other floors in the building.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Public Works Minister Nxesi visited others who were injured in the blaze at Milpark Hospital yesterday afternoon.

Staff working in the building were evacuated from the building and are receiving counseling. The officials will be allowed to stay at home until a suitable alternative can be found where they can report for duty.

The Department of Infrastructure Development is working with the three departments to find alternative office space.

The building has been shut down to allow investigators to conduct investigations into the cause of the fire.

Condolences to families of Denel explosion victims 

Meanwhile, Cabinet also conveyed its condolences to the family and friends of the eight people who died in an explosion at the Denel munitions factory in Somerset West, in the Western Cape.

Minister Mokonyane also wished commuters who were injured when two Metrorail trains collided at the Eloff Extension in Selby, south of Johannesburg, a speedy recovery.

“Cabinet calls for the investigation into the cause of the accident to be fast-tracked to prevent a recurrence,” said the Minister. –