Building closed for safety

2019-06-19 06:00
Qondile Khedama

Qondile Khedama

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The temporary closure of China City in Bloemfontein’s inner city has left several mall tenants in despair.

Approximately 15 tenants have been counting their losses since the mall was closed on Thursday (13/06).

The Mangaung Metro Munici­pality ordered the Georgiou Trust, which owns the building, to close shop after discovering non-compliance to certain safety mea­sures.

This closure forms part of the city council’s Reclaiming the City campaign aimed at enforcing bylaws.

Tenants trading from the building lamented the loss of their income and are waiting on the owner to resolve the matter. Their goods are all locked inside the building, which is located across Fichardt and Hanger Street.

“We as tenants are not at fault. We are renting to run a business,” said a desperate tenant, speaking anonymously.

“Since it has been closed, we have lost our source of income. We have nowhere to go while the building is closed. We do not know how long it will take the owner to repair and comply with regulations given by the authority.”

Some, on the other hand, are grateful that the city council conducted the inspection of the building. have given the city council the thumbs conducting inspection to ensure compliance.

“Our lives have been saved,” said another tenant.

“We were unaware of the danger that existed, since our access is limited to the shops we rent.”

According to Qondile Khedama, spokesperson of the Mangaung Metro, said following crackdown last Thursday, one of the major violations causing concern at the building include exposed electrical wires, damaged fire extinguishers and an insufficient evacuation plan.

He said non-compliance in and around China City is rife, leading to the decision to temporarily close this business area.

“The place was deemed unsafe and a danger to the people occupying it. Gas pipelines were left exposed and unattended to, which could lead to explosions and a loss of life. The place will remain closed until the owner has fixed all the issues that are indicated in the notice.”

Once the city’s building control unit has been notified that the issues have been attended to, another inspection will take place to ensure that everything is satisfactory.

Khedama said the initiative was pursuant to the efforts of Olly Mlamleli, executive mayor, in ensuring that the city attains its vision of being a safe and attractive city in which to live, work and invest.

“The Reclaiming the City campaign is in full effect, enforcing bylaws in the inner city. The city will be undertaking a thorough analysis of both business and residential areas, so that those who do not comply are brought to book,” said Khedama.

The campaign sees joint operations conducted unannounced.

“The operation will continue to ensure that businesses and residents adhere to the municipal bylaws,” he said.

Because of the widespread breach and violation of bylaws, the drive is in partnership with several law enforcement agencies.

These agencies include the Traffic Department, environmental health service division, police, Free State Gambling and Liquor Authority, institutions of higher learning and the Department of Labour, as well as Centlec, power supplier of municipalities in the Southern Free State.

According to Khedama, all service delivery directorates are involved in the campaign to reclaim the city.

The exodus of established businesses from the deteriorating inner city is largely due to the city council’s apparent lack of bylaw enforcement.

This has resulted in the increase of crime.

Khedama says the campaign aims to restore the city’s lost image and make the inner city an investment destination again.

He said focus will also be given to hotspots in the Bloemfontein inner-city areas such as Ella Street, known as Small Street in Willows.

“This, predominantly an area for students, has shown an increase in crime activities,” said Khedama.

Despite the fact that informal traders are deemed vital for survival due to the high unemployment rate, the city council is compelled to deal with the disregard of bylaws in the inner city.

Informal traders, illegal abortion clinics and sellers of fruit and vegetables are found to be the chief culprits in the disregard of bylaws.

Fruit and vegetables leave trail of dirty where they operate while abortion clinics using every building and available spaces for advertising.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.