A Wits groundstaff member fills his locker which is clearly "not in a good condition".

and landscaping workers at Wits should finally have refurbished change rooms on the east campus by mid-July.

The creation of new change rooms follows numerous complaints about the condition of their current facilities, which contrast sharply with the clean grounds which the workers maintain.

The 22 men have been using two shacks located behind the Jubilee kitchens and Hofmeyr House on the east campus. The shacks were meant to be used temporarily until proper facilities were built.

The change rooms, which are used to store tools and hazardous chemicals, have also served as their eating area. Vuvuzela spoke to a number of workers.

“We’ve had to share the two showers and [in] most instances six people shower at the same time because the water in the geyser runs out.”

Vuvuzela saw the shacks and identified several problems. Some of them are: a shower area is exposed to public view, as the broken window pane has not been replaced. There is no drainage system for the ablution facilities and the lighting and geyser pipes are exposed to steam.

Naadira Munshi of the Workers Solidarity Committee said the matter had been raised with the university’s management and there was “a call for the removal of the shacks”.

For an institution that “preaches about human rights and respect” of its employees, the state of the workers change rooms was a huge contradiction, Munshi said.

Siphiwe Dlamini, from the Wits procurement office’s project and infrastructure management division, said the plan to improve the change room was sparked by complaints, especially those from the landscape workers.

“The project has just begun and it includes the renovation and extension of the existing structure adjacent the Planetarium,” said Dlamini.

The building, which is expected to be ready by mid-July, will include sections for males and females.

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Photo: Lebogang Mdlankomo

Published in Vuvuzela Print Edition, 13 April 2012