South African health ministry workers embark on strike

By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG (AA) – Health workers at the ministry head office embarked on a strike Thursday, protesting lack of safety at the building they work in just a week after fire swept through a government building in Johannesburg.

"There are no air conditioners or windows at this building and workers are breathing carbon monoxide,'' Peter Moloi of the Public Servants Association (PSA) told reporters in the capital Pretoria.

He claimed several workers had fallen ill as a result of poor ventilation in the building.

"The water here is also dirty. Workers bring their own water," Moloi said, adding they will not return to work unless the problems are fixed.

Health Ministry spokesman Popo Maja said they were aware of the situation, according to local media.

He said they were working with the ministry of public works to address the issue, but called on strikers not to intimidate those at work.

Last week, a huge fire swept through a government building in Johannesburg, killing three fire fighters and injuring eight others.

The building was found to be lacking health and safety standards.

Over 1,000 workers were safely evacuated from the building.

This has made other government employees to question the health standards of buildings they work in.