Question NW17 to the Minister of Health

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09 March 2020 - NW17

Profile picture: Van Staden, Mr PA

Van Staden, Mr PA to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether he has been informed that the Civitas building in Pretoria that houses the headquarters of his department is a health hazard; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether the building also houses his office; if so, on what date did he last visit his office; (3) has he put any measures in place to address the problems at the Civitas building in Pretoria; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) (a) on what date will he and his department be moving to new premises and (b) where is this new premises; (5) whether he will make a statement on the matter?


1. The Civitas building requires significant maintenance which must be facilitated by the Department of Public Works. The key areas that require maintenance are the air-conditioning, water proofing of the roof and the repair and replacement of the lifts.

When the air-conditioning does not function optimally, temperatures in offices can become unbearable. We have therefore allowed staff to leave early in such circumstances until the air-condition is repaired. It would be incorrect to refer to this as a “health hazard”. If these areas of maintenance are not addressed, then a “health hazard” may occur. At this stage the repairs to the air-conditioning system are underway and expected to be completed by mid-March 2020.

2. The Minister uses the Civitas building as his office and holds meetings in the building regularly.

(3) A maintenance company has been appointed to repair the air-conditioning and sprinkler systems and this is expected to be completed by mid-March 2020. The Department monitors and tracks the progress related to the maintenance of the building with special attention to addressing the recommendations of the Inspector of the Department of Labour.

Progress in addressing the identified defects is as follows:

- new chillers have been procured and installed, to address the Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC). They will be commissioned by end of March 2020.

- work is still underway related to addressing the sprinkler system and is expected to be completed by end of March 2020.

- roof water proofing project has been completed. A new deficiency has emerged related to the storm water system when there are heavy rains as recently experienced in Gauteng.

- the lifts project has been completed and currently on a maintenance status.

The revised completion date for other maintenance work by the contractor pending approval is 23 June 2020, which might be extended due to the phased approach of NDoH providing access to limited floors to the contractor, considering that the work is done while the building is occupied.

The maintenance project completion timelines are currently behind schedule in the region of 102 days due to unforeseen delays which include non-payment of invoices for work done, by DPW. Since the commencement of the project in April 2019, DPW has not paid any of the claims from the contractors.

(4) (a) The Department is currently participating in an acquisition and procurement process with the Department of Public Works regarding the process of moving to new premises. A formal and written indication was communicated to the DPW by NDOH on 10 February 2020 regarding the preferred building for the relocation. DPW has informed NDOH that they are still attending to procurement processes, including getting the necessary Treasury approvals. DPW has estimated the commencement of the move to a new building to be from October 2020.

(b) In Pretoria.

(5) A statement was issued on 4 February 2020 related to the relocation of the National Department of Health from the Civitas building.


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