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14 Jul 2008 15:21
Tenants of Schubart Park flats in Pretoria will have to be evacuated from the premises in order for the building to be renovated, Tshwane mayor Gwen Ramokgopa said on Monday.
“This building is actually not compliant with by-laws, it’s not compliant with occupational health and safety regulations ... an urgent process of major renovation of this building [is needed],” said Ramokgopa while inspecting the flats built in the 1970s by the National Party regime.
She described the dilapidated building as “unliveable from a health and safety perspective”.
The building is overcrowded with up to 20 people living in one unit.
“The building has to be evacuated,” she told residents who had gathered around her .
However, there was mixed reaction from the crowd with some suggesting that the building be renovated one block at a time as they would not have anywhere to go.
“The report that I have is that structurally it would be difficult to get to the source of major renovation required with people living here,” she told reporters shortly after her visit.
Ramokgopa said she would like to see renovations of the building start as soon as possible.
Asked when people should evacuate the building, Ramokgopa said: “We communicated with the residents last year already. In terms of the finalisation of the renovation, we can even start next week because the money is there.”
The mayor voiced concern that the lifts within the building were not working. The elderly should be evacuated and housed in homes around the city, and disabled tenants also need attention. “The lifts have not been working for months,” said one woman.
The building smells of urine and has dark, damp passages and broken windows.
Ramokgopa added that there was a problem with the building management. “We had a management breakdown because we also have people who live here who are not registered. Management must work with representatives of the residents who live here.”
Another issue the mayor raised was that about 90% of residents did not pay their monthly rent.
Chairperson of the Schubart Park and Kruger Park residents’ committee Aubrey Ramohlale said he would consider moving provided that alternative accommodation was arranged.
He said residents would deliver a memorandum to the mayor’s office on Wednesday.—Sapa
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