Pietermaritzburg City Hall stripped by copper thieves despite 24-hour security, says Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla
Share this article:
DURBAN - THE roof of the Pietermaritzburg City Hall has been damaged due to copper theft, and there are suspicions that this could have been done with the “help” of city employees.
That is one of the possibilities being considered by city officials as they try to explain the embarrassing and damaging security lapse that has caused extensive damage to the more than 100-year-old building.
The state of the city hall has come under increased scrutiny following revelations that the roof of the building, which is made of copper, has allegedly been stripped.
Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said while he did not want to speculate, it was concerning that such theft occurred while the building had 24-hour security.
“We have caught the person who did this and a case has been opened, this theft happened some time ago. We do not want to speculate on what happened there while the investigation is being conducted, but we need to find out if people were let into the building.
“City Hall has 24-hour security, we need to know how these people were able to access the building,” he said.
He added that a lot of damage had been done and a lot of copper had been stolen. A Facebook group called Save PMB recently posted pictures of the stripped roof, describing the damage as “heartbreaking”.
“The rain will destroy the beautiful vaulted ceilings – also irreplaceable,” said the post.
ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand said the quality of security at the building was questionable.
“If you have security and something like this happens, you fire the security company.”
He said that internally, the building was also falling apart.
“There are holes inside the building where if you fall in you could die; in the basement, where some of the city’s treasures are held, it is chaotic and there is no maintenance or inventory control of those items,” he said.
The municipality said it would use its budget for city hall maintenance to do the repairs while waiting for the insurance claim.
Speaking on maintenance issues, the city said it was no secret that the municipality had financial challenges, adding that maintenance work on the building was being done in phases.