Burnt City Hall another thorn

2017-06-28 06:01
Scores of employees outside the City Hall before it was torched.Photo: Mlungisi Louw

Scores of employees outside the City Hall before it was torched.Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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The remains of the burnt Bloemfontein City Hall add up to the multiple thorns – garbage, sewage, potholes and broken traffic lights – in the City of Roses.

The City Hall, one of the oldest buildings in the city, was torched on Wednesday (21/06).

According to History Online, the Bloemfontein City Hall was built in 1935 and was designed by Sir Gordon Leith, best known as one of the masters of the so-called traditional style in South Africa during the first half of this century.

The hall had an Italian-style interior with an attractive sandstone exterior.

The facility was built from large stately sandstone.

The destroyed hall also leads into the Clarendon Hall, which is near the Bram Fischer Building where the main administration of the Mangaung Metro Municipality is situated.

Qondile Khedama, spokesperson of the Mangaung Metro, said the assessors have begun quantifying the damages and that information will be revealed after the team has comple-ted the process.

As for the pending wage dispute between the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the city council authority, Khedama said: “We are optimistic that something positive will happen to stabilise the city.”

Fire fighters of the trouble-ridden Mangaung Metro Municipality battled for hours to put out the blaze.

The fire was noticed at approximately 18:45 when smoke came out through the windows and doors.

Shortly afterwards, the police arrived on the scene and fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at a number of people who were believed to be members of Samwu.

Hours before the fire, the hall was packed to capacity by members of the union.

They had attended a meeting where they were informed that no deal had been struck with the Mangaung Metro authority.

The burning of one of the oldest buildings in the city caused public outrage and hundreds of people continue to talk about the incident, slamming the perpetrator.

“The DA strongly condemns the use of violence, intimidation and arson in an attempt to solve the Mangaung strike, which has now resulted in the historic City Hall being burnt to the ground,” said Tjaart van der Walt, DA Councillor in the Mangaung Metro.

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