The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

Pretoria, South Africa

SAPS Headquarters Condemned: Filth and Safety Hazards Force Evacuation

Michael Hawthorne

The South African Police Service (SAPS) headquarters in Pretoria has been declared unfit for human occupation and evacuated due to shocking hygienic and safety violations. The building, purchased for R900 million just eight years ago, will remain sealed until it passes critical inspections.

Solidarity’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) department, accompanied by a Department of Labour inspector, conducted a damning assessment of the Telkom Towers headquarters. Complaints from police officers spurred the investigation, revealing:

Workers reported respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions likely caused by the squalid conditions. Despite the severity of these concerns, Solidarity claims the SAPS, including Lt. General S.W. Chamane, failed to address numerous letters and complaints.

Renate Pieterse, network coordinator for the public sector at Solidarity, expressed outrage that the very heart of law enforcement operations failed to meet basic standards. The union highlighted the irony of Minister of Police Bheki Cele’s top-floor office — recently renovated and technologically secured — while the rest of the 24-floor building is deemed unlivable.

The building lacks crucial occupation certificates and fire department approval. An immediate notice of improvement was issued, forcing the evacuation.

Helgard Cronjé, deputy general secretary of Solidarity, questions the priorities of the SAPS leadership, suggesting that Cele’s use of police resources for ANC events showcases a disregard for the safety of citizens. The situation is expected to significantly impact police morale and crime-fighting efforts.

The condemnation of the SAPS headquarters exposes a shocking decay within the police force. The Department of Labour’s findings and the union’s strong criticism underscore a public safety crisis in need of urgent remedy.

Sources

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