The reception area of St Mark’s Church was set alight during CPUT student protests. Photo: ANA
Cape Town - The 150-year-old St Mark’s Anglican Church in District Six remains vulnerable as it waits to hear the extent of an insurance payout expected from Old Mutual after the building was badly damaged in an arson attack in September.

Student Lukhanyo Matinisi, 20, was arrested for the attack which took place during protests at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s (CPUT’s) Cape Town campus.

St Mark’s rector Austin Jackson told the Cape Times urgent repairs were needed for the heritage site before the holidays.

“We met the assessor for the second of two meetings, who had at first made an assessment of the damages with the assistance of a registered contractor.

“He gave us the assessed amount but has so far been dragging their heels in giving it to us in writing.”

He said the SA Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria) usually paid out damages to private property emanating from protests, civil disobedience or political instability.

The assessor would hand over the assessed amount with the quotations to Sasria, said Jackson, and it would be processed in one or two weeks. But with the two weeks having passed, the church was worried.

In a meeting between the church delegation and the assessor it was established that cleaning up, repairs and painting would amount to R257 496 and R235 055 respectively.

The assessor’s contractor that would do the work had quoted R200 823, the contents amounted to R73 812, from which he said the excess of R13 731 would be deducted and a cash sum of R60 080 would be paid to the church.

Old Mutual’s head of claims support, Johan Welthagen, said: “What the rector wants is for us to just draw up a cheque, which we would love to do but cannot.

“Sasria processes the claims related to damages caused by political unrest.

“Though having done the assessment ourselves and sent it to them, we are only the middleman in this situation.”

He said they had been contacting Sasria on behalf of the Anglican church and would continue to do so to assist them.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said: “CPUT management continues to engage with the St Mark’s church elders on a number of concerns and matters.

“CPUT itself has been left vulnerable as a result of pending insurance payouts so we understand that the church may have similar frustrations.”

The university closes for the year on December 20, said Kansley.

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Cape Times