Police station crumbles

2018-10-12 15:53
Plants growing out of the roof of the Pietermaritzburg police station.

Plants growing out of the roof of the Pietermaritzburg police station. (Ian Carbutt)

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Built in 1903, the Pietermaritzburg police station on Jabu Ndlovu Street, which was once the pride of the city, is now being called an “embarrassment”.

The Pietermaritzburg police station, known formerly as the Loop Street police station, was built 115 years ago and is a grade two heritage landmark.

The building won an award for its architectural design, however, the beauty of the old building is lost in the crumbling bricks and sandstone around the outside of the police station. Small trees and plants sprout from the roof and some windows.

Amafa’s Ros Devereaux said the police station was originally built by the railways department and was used as their headquarters.

The building was transformed into a police station 10 years later in 1913.

“The building is relatively well maintained except for the ingress of water caused by the theft of the metal downpipes,” said Devereaux.

“This is causing damage to the sandstone resulting in exfoliation in places.”

A police officer, who asked not to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press, said that although the inside of the police station was “fairly well kept” the outside was a “complete embarrassment”.

“Inside, it is quite a clean building and the officers try to maintain it as best they can but the outside is not good. The bricks are crumbling away and there are plants growing from the windows. It is hazardous and very worrying.

“It is also an eyesore,” said the officer.

The crumbling exterior of the entrance to the Pietermaritzburg police station. 

The policeman said there were a number of old buildings along Jabu Ndlovu Street that are popular with tourists but that the police station was nothing to be proud of.

“It is embarrassing, especially since we are right next to the KZN Museum, which looks beautiful from the outside.

“It is not only embarrassing to the police working inside the station, but to the residents of the city,” he said.

The Pietermaritzburg detective branch offices, built right next to the station, has been reported as a health hazard by those who work in the building.

A source who could not be named said the detective’s building was crumbling away from the inside out.

“The officers do not want to use the toilets in the building. Everything is falling apart which is very concerning considering all the sensitive dockets that are there.

“The building is a safety hazard.”

Rotting wood on the roof of the Pietermaritzburg police station on Jabu Ndlovu Street. 

A resident who asked not to be named said he went to the Pietermaritzburg station for the first time in years recently and was “horrified” by what he found.

“The building looks derelict. I was so shocked, I could just not believe what I was seeing.

“If the building looks like that, I do not believe the police can work properly in those conditions,” he said.

KZN Department of Public Works spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said on Thursday that because the building is a police station, the national Department of Public Works would be better suited to respond.

The national department had not responded to media queries on Thursday afternoon.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pietermaritzburg buildings

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