Barracks falling apart

2018-11-19 15:45

Once described as a “safe, family-friendly complex” for city police, the Alexandra police barracks are now “a health hazard”, with accusations that some units are not even used by officers and their families.

The exterior of the barracks, which are at the rear of Alexandra Road police station, is crumbling, while the interior has been left “unmaintained and disgusting”.

The main building served from 1890 as a barracks for the Natal Mounted Police (later known as Natal Police). It was later used as the headquarters of the SAP. The old police barracks building was declared a national monument in February 1992.

A police officer, who asked not to be named, said the barracks are a “complete disgrace” and “unhygienic for people to be living in”.

He added: “There are people, and families, living in the barracks who are not on the police force.

“Some policemen have rented units at the barracks out and because the building is not maintained, and there is no security ... it flies under the radar.”

The crumbling building.

The source told The Witness that the inside of the building was “sickening and disgusting”, adding that there are water and sewer pipes leaking everywhere in the building.

“The people living in the units just go to the bathroom in the passageways, down the stairs,” he said. “When you walk into the building, you have to be careful not to step in any of it.”

Another police source said the outside of the building was very poorly maintained and appeared to be falling apart.

“Repairs are rarely done on the building but when they are done, the money comes from the station budget as there is no budget for the barracks,” he added. “The inside is a lot worse ... it is filthy inside.”

The second source also alleges that some people living in the units are not in the police force and are illegally renting units from police officers.

One city woman, who asked not to be named for professional reasons, said she spent five years of her childhood, during the mid-2000s, living at the Alexandra police barracks.

“It was a wonderful place. It was clean and well-kept and safe for children to play around,” she said.

“The grass was always cut and the gardens were neat. Cleaners came to the building regularly and the rubbish was even picked up. It was like a safe, happy little complex.”

The ruins of the old mortuary at the Alexandra police barracks that stood next to the married quarters of the barracks.

The woman said that when she saw the building recently, she was “shocked”, adding: “When I was young, we used to run around and play between those buildings and it definitely did not look like it does now. The building was attractive, now it is an embarrassment.

“If you asked me to live there today, I would not go near that place.

“It is appalling. You can see from the outside that it is falling apart. I’d not even want to know what the inside looks like.

“The barracks look like they have just been left to rot.”

Media queries sent to the Department of Public works and the SA Police, both nationally and provincially, were not answered.

The married quarters are also in a poor state of repair.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  police barracks
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