Department of Health set to relocate offices

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Department of Health is set to move from its headquarters in the Pretoria central business district (CBD) to an alternative building.

This follows an urgent meeting held between Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, Deputy Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, the department’s Acting Director General, Dr Anban Pillay and senior management.

The purpose of the meeting was to give the Minister a comprehensive progress report on the relocation of the department and employees to an alternative building.

The meeting comes after another held between Mkhize and Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille in December 2019, where both Ministers resolved that relocating the department was a matter of urgency.

According to the department, staff members have not been present at work for the full working hours, as determined by the employer. This is due to the concerns raised regarding the state of the building.

During a meeting, Mkhize emphasised that the safety of the workers is paramount.

“As the department, we must lead in the fields of employee wellness and occupational safety, including fostering a tenable working environment.

“I am making an appeal to public servants to heed the call to serve, as we will heed the call to protect them from a harmful working environment,” Mkhize said.

After the presentation of a report, Mkhize directed the management of the department to go ahead with the implementation of the relocation plan, and engage Public Works to finalise the sourcing of the new building and ensure that the specifications presented by the department are complied with.

The department will inform its employees on the developments and engage them on an interim arrangement, which includes them coming back to work and being present for the full designated employment hours, pending the finalisation of the relocation.

Public Works is also expected to provide the estimated timeframes for the completion of the relocation process, so that this can be communicated to employees.

Management is expected to continue engaging employees, including organised labour, by keeping them informed on developments and challenges, and ensure inclusive consultation through appropriate forums. – SAnews.gov.za

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