The Gauteng department of education is still paying monthly rental fees for vacant buildings evacuated by its employees for failing to meet health and safety standards. Various departments in the province, as well as national departments, have complained about the issue of government office accommodation after the Bank of Lisbon building in central Johannesburg caught fire, killing three firemen. Inspectors found the building in a parlous state, sparking union anger and government pledges to remove employees from buildings condemned by the safety inspectors. The employees refused to move to alternative buildings allocated to their business units outside the city, citing logistical challenges and a unilateral change of working conditions by the department. They warned that their work, including the processing of matric exams, would be affected by the displacement. Teachers’ union, the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), said it was still waiting for the department to find permanent...

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