Snakes, lack of water and office overcrowding saw Social Development Department officials stop work and turn residents away yesterday.
The office in Kirkwood serves the community of the Sundays River Municipality.
But when staff reported for work at the dilapidated four-bedroom rented house yesterday they were greeted by unwanted visitors: snakes.
One of the staff contingent of 31, who declined to be named, said the grounds of the aluminiumroofed house had not been cleaned in ages. Snakes had often been seen around the building. At the service centre, staff were eight to a room. Members of the public were turned away to ensure their safety after two snakes were caught. Others were seen in the building but not caught.
“We refuse to enter the building for fear of our lives,” the official said.
Water supply to the building is often interrupted, leaving staff without water for days at a time.
Social Development spokeswoman Nomiky Tshangela said: “The provincial department is not aware of this matter.”
She said the department was planning to move the office in the next financial year.