SAPS headquarters deemed unsafe for staff

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SAPS headquarters deemed unsafe for staff

The poor condition of the South African Police Service’s national headquarters building in
Pretoria raises concerns that the organisation does not care about employees’ safety, says a
trade union official.

Helgard Cronjé, Deputy General Secretary of Public Industry at Solidarity, slammed the state
of the Telkom Towers building after National Police Commissioner General Fannie
Masemola ordered an immediate evacuation yesterday due to safety issues.

The SAPS purchased the building eight years ago and spent close to R900 million
renovating it. But Cronjé says its current condition is appalling.

“It seems as though the police want to make it seem as if it’s not important, but at the end of
the day, I think it is important for SAPS morale,” he said.

Cronjé noted the evacuation was ordered without widespread complaints from other SAPS
divisions around the country about the condition of their buildings.

“So this is a very important thing that has happened. A lot of money was spent on the offices
of the National Commissioner and the Minister [Bheki Cele] at this specific Telkom towers
building, yet for other employees, it’s not safe to work there,” he added.

The evacuation order suggests serious problems with the building that jeopardise the safety
of police employees. As Cronjé points out, this raises questions about the SAPS’ priorities,
given the significant funds spent on renovations.

If the working conditions at the headquarters itself are substandard, it reflects poorly on the
SAPS’ commitment to providing decent facilities for all staff. The contradiction between
lavish executive offices and hazardous environments for regular employees is troubling.

Worker safety should be a top concern for any employer. However the SAPS seems to have
neglected this in the case of its Pretoria headquarters.

As the core facility directing police operations nationwide, the building’s condition has
symbolic importance for morale. Its failure to provide a safe workspace undermines staff
confidence in the SAPS leadership.

Swift action is needed to rectify any structural or maintenance issues at the headquarters.
Police employees, like all workers, deserve a hazard-free office environment. The SAPS
must demonstrate that staff wellbeing is a priority, not just an afterthought.