Red flags raised over Castle of Good Hope's fire safety

2017-11-14 21:17
(Castle of Good Hope website)

(Castle of Good Hope website)

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Cape Town – South Africa's oldest surviving building, the iconic Castle of Good Hope, has been barred from holding events after it was declared non-compliant with City of Cape Town fire safety bylaws.

In a notice to the castle dated November 8, seen by News24, the City of Cape Town's fire and rescue services said the building's fire panels, smoke detection devices and fire extinguishers had not been getting serviced by an approved service provider on a yearly basis.

There was also insufficient signage and no nozzles for fire hoses.

City of Cape Town executive director for safety and security Richard Bosman told News24 that a follow-up inspection of the building had been planned.

"The venue will be allowed to host events, provided it complies with the fire safety findings of non-compliance during a follow-up inspection," Bosman said on Tuesday.

Non-compliance with City of Cape Town fire safety bylaws does not affect the building's capacity to welcome day visitors.

Castle Control Board CEO Calvyn Gilfellan, however, appeared unfazed by the concerns raised over the building's fire safety.

Gilfellan said after they were informed "informally" of a number of outstanding compliance requirements, he approached the city for a list of necessary improvements to ensure that the castle becomes "110% compliant".

"It's been a year since the extensive renovations to the building – costing R108m – have been completed, so it's natural that there's been some wear and tear."

Gilfellan said no events have been cancelled thus far. It was expected that the final inspection of water cylinders would be completed by the end of the week.

He said since the building celebrated its 350-year anniversary in 2016, it had drawn considerably more visitors and event applications.

"The castle's operation has successfully been restructured to ensure as little as possible bureaucracy... we are making sure we run the building to not only be a proud heritage site for the city and South Africans – but for the world," Gilfellan said.

Read more on:    cape town

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