Defence HQ also without climate control

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South African military personnel often have to work in difficult conditions, but this should not include office buildings with broken air conditioning.

The SA National Defence Union (Sandu) has noted with concern the fact that air conditioning systems in Defence Headquarters in Erasmusrand are broken, and “military staff in their hundreds are expected to work in office temperatures of 31 degrees C for several weeks now”.

The broken climate control system, says Sandu, is “a direct threat to the occupational health and safety of military staff especially given the building is designed in a way that has no opening windows”.

“Poor ventilation occurs and poses an obvious threat to the health of staff,” Sandu National Secretary Pikkie Greeff stated.

The majority of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel Sandu has taken up cudgels on behalf of spend their working days in the Armscor building at Defence Headquarters. The prominent glass-fronted building in Erasmusrand adjacent to the N1 is, according to the largest military labour organisation in South Africa, unserviceable from the point of view of its air conditioning system.

Apart from concern about poor ventilation, the trade union said medicine stored “in the facility is in danger of spoiling because of the excessive temperature”. This is a further health risk and, Greeff maintains, non-compliance with legal pharmaceutical requirements.

The Armscor building is also home to Thandi Modise’s Ministry of Defence, the Defence Secretariat and a number of Armscor departments including the chief executive.

Sandu only makes mention of unserviceable air conditioning affecting military staff and does not indicate if the minister, Secretary for Defence or even the office space used by General Rudzani Maphwanya, SANDF Chief, is also no longer climate controllable.

Greeff’s statement has it “the installation (the Armscor building) houses the entire command of the SANDF with its support staff. No one should be expected to endure such a working environment let alone the heartbeat of the SANDF”.

As with the building on the western side of the Pretoria CBD housing SA Air Force (SAAF) headquarters, reported to Sandu by staff there as suffering a similar malaise, the union has gone the legal route in search of urgent repair to installed climate control systems.

defenceWeb has not, at the time of publishing this report, had any response from SANDF Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC) or SAAF Corporate Services as to what – if anything – is or will be done to the SAAF headquarters.