Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Art Gallery has been temporarily closed after its building in Joubert Park, in the Johannesburg CBD, was badly damaged by heavy rain.
In a statement on Wednesday, member of the mayoral committee for community development Nonhlanhla Sifumba said rainfall forced gallery staff to move artworks from the walls into storerooms and the basement.
"We could [also] not risk the lives of our employees after emergency services, occupational health and safety, and risk management were all called to the scene and advised that the facility be closed," she said.
Sifumba said while the building is closed the city will conduct a detailed assessment of the damage and repairs needed.
"It must be noted that leaking in the gallery dates back to 1989 and attempts to repair it over the years have failed," she said.
According to Sifumba, the previous administration had not used a budget allocated for repair work on the building.
"The previous administration left the facility in shambles," she said.
However, on its Facebook page the gallery said poor workmanship by the company hired to fix the roof led to the leaks.
"The roof is basically bare," the gallery said.
The gallery also said copper theft had led to issues within the building.
Sifumba said curators will work on new exhibitions while the gallery is closed.
"The new administration is committed to fixing this historic and important institution which will play an important role in boosting tourism and maintaining the city's status as the home of the arts," she said.