Tshwane HQ implosion gives way to state-of-the-art structure

The Munitoria was built as the municipal headquarters of the then City Council of Pretoria during the 1960s and its official inauguration took place on 28 February 1969. (Gallo)

The Munitoria was built as the municipal headquarters of the then City Council of Pretoria during the 1960s and its official inauguration took place on 28 February 1969. (Gallo)

The implosion of the City of Tshwane's old headquarters, the Munitoria building, went ahead on Sunday without hitches, an official said.

Requisite precautionary and safety measures were implemented to reduce the implosion's impact on nearby residents, businesses and animals at the Pretoria Zoo, said Teddy Habib of Draco Demolition, the company contracted for the demolition.

“This [the safety measures] was part of our commitment to protect the environment and reduce the potential effects of demolition to acceptable limits,” he said.

Areas within two blocks of the Munitoria were evacuated prior to the implosion and residents living in the affected areas were also evacuated.

City manager Jason Ngobeni said the Munitoria demolition made way for the construction of a new state-of-the-art municipal headquarters.

He said service delivery in the capital city would be boosted by the erection of the new headquarters, named Tshwane House.

“The soon-to-be constructed Tshwane House will enable greater ease of access to services for Tshwane citizens and will further inculcate a culture of increased organisational efficiency”, said Ngobeni.

Construction of Tshwane House
“The new headquarters will accommodate 1 500 municipal employees considered to be the nerve centre of the municipality, and will thus reduce costs and provide for efficient decision-making.”

The construction of Tshwane House is part of the Tshwane 2055 vision and a regeneration programme aimed at reviving the deteriorated inner city.

In a statement issued shortly after the implosion the City of Tshwane said like the Munitoria, service delivery backlogs would also be the thing of the past.

The Munitoria was built as the municipal headquarters of the then City Council of Pretoria during the 1960s and its official inauguration took place on 28 February 1969.

The structure had been damaged by fire on different occasions.

Earlier this year, Tshwane handed the Munitoria site over to Tsela Tshweu Construction Joint Venture signalling the construction of a new municipal residence.

The project will be funded jointly by the city and private partners in a public-private partnership.

The city said it had engaged with businesses operating in the inner city, residents and the taxi industry about Sunday's implosion and the cordoning-off of major streets.

Witnessing the implosion
“It was critical that we engage with all our stakeholders to get their buy-in as they were going to be inconvenienced by the implosion,” Ngobeni said.

Numerous Pretoria residents thronged to the Union Buildings on Sunday morning to witness the implosion.

The 44-year-old building in the city centre tumbled down at midday in a thunderous blast, followed by large billows of smoke and dust.

The building had been wrapped in a blast curtain.

Residents and tourists parked their cars on the streets as they rushed to capture the destruction. Thousands gathered at the Union Buildings lawns owing to its elevation.

Most streets in the city had been cordoned off and many police officers were patrolling the area near the Munitoria. – Sapa

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