Reitumetse Mahope
2 minute read
8 Mar 2019
7:43 am

Pretoria retail centre plagued by insect infestation

Reitumetse Mahope

Employees at a call centre in the Sammy Marks Square alleged that they were given cans of insect killer when they complained about the being bitten by the insects.

Tshwane employee shows the aftermath of a bite on her back by "unknown pests" terrorising the call centre. Supplied

The Tshwane Metro says it is “coping and managing with incoming calls” at its Sammy Marks Square centre, a retail hub in the Pretoria CBD.

This despite staff having abandoned the centre two weeks ago because of an allegedly “out-of-control” insect infestation at the building, reports Pretoria East Rekord.

“So far, we have not experienced an uncontrollable backlog and the situation is under control,” said Tshwane metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo.

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“We are [however] currently looking for alternative office space at our operational offices.”

This follows employees at the call centre offices complaining of an insect infestation at the building, biting them as they work and leaving rashes.

Mashigo said the last fumigation was done on February 13.

Employees alleged that they were given cans of insect killer when they complained about the insects.

“The cans didn’t help,” a metro employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Pretoria East Rekord.

Employees abandoned their posts two weeks ago, and haven’t come back since.

“Workers report for duties daily and then – depending on the specific situation – are then released,” said Mashigo.

The trouble started when employees complained to superiors about an unpleasant smell coming from the carpets, according to workers at the centre.

“Since last year we had a problem of water leaking from the ceilings,” an employee told Pretoria East Rekord. “This caused our office carpets to smell bad.”

Workers continued to complain about the stink from the carpets, while continuing with their duties.

Things, however, took a turn for the worse when the building was fumigated.

“Then these biting insects crawled out of nowhere,” a staff member said.

Tshwane employee shows the aftermath of a bite on his ear by “unknown pests” terrorising the call centre. Supplied

“We are pleading with management to take our issues seriously.”

SA Municipal Workers Union shop steward Charles Siwela said “We are clear with our message that we will not go back to work in an infested office”.

“The Tshwane metro must rectify the situation.”

He also said it was unacceptable that female employees at the building were bitten in sensitive areas by insects while at work.

“When women come to tell me that they cannot deal with irritation in those areas, it is embarrassing to some.”

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