Plans underway for the torched Bloemfontein City Hall

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The Free State Heritage Committee commends the Mangaung Metro Municipality for outlining its plans and timeframes on how it plans to rebuild and protect the remains of the torched city hall. The chairperson of the committee, Joe Serekoane, said in their meeting with the executive of the municipality it was confirmed that the municipality has lodged a claim for damages with its insurance and that the building is currently placed under 24- hour protection to make sure no further damage occurs. This comes soon after the provincial Heritage Committee issued a communication to the municipality urging for the repair of the building and the protection thereof. Serekoane said he is pleased that the municipality has laid their cards on the table.

Serekoane said the committee, as the legal guardian of the City Hall and other heritage sites, has made the municipality aware of the legal implications relating to the damage to the City Hall and is pleased that it has indicated its commitment to resolving the matter. Serekoane could confirm that the municipality is going to have monthly meeting with the Free State Heritage Committee to ensure effective progress on the matter. He, however, added that no fixed timeframes have yet been set.

Serekoane said the process of determining the extent of the damage is on-going and will soon be communicated. He said the committee will be involved in all steps taken to restore the City Hall. Opposition parties have, however, raised concerns over prolonged periods taken to determine the cost of the damages stating that the Executive Mayor, Olly Mlamleli, should personally be held accountable to cover the costs. The hall was torched last month and earlier speculation had it that the blaze could have been part of a two-month long strike by municipal workers.

The Mangaung Metro Municipality could not be reached for comment despite several attempts.