Neglected government building is a gold mine for squatters

Gauteng Road and Transport building in Pretoria. Picture: Sipho Jack

Gauteng Road and Transport building in Pretoria. Picture: Sipho Jack

Published Mar 23, 2024


The Gauteng Provincial Government’s abandoned building on corner Pretorius and Bossman streets in Pretoria, has turned into a gold mine for squatters as they continue to vandalise it for scrap.

The old Road and Transport offices front windows are currently shattered and the scanning machines at the entrance have been damaged.

This was despite the building having only one security guard on the site.

One of the squatters the publication spoke with said they were not scared of the security guard as he didn’t care if they entered the premises.

“We are doing this not because we are being silly, but we need money to survive, and when you have a trolley full of metal you can get enough money to last you for days. So, every day, we gain entry here and we go our separate ways, some go to the garage and some to upper levels floors.

The building is big enough for all of us, so we don’t fight for space and sometimes we work together,” he said.

He said “This past Thursday, police arrested few of their friends for gaining entry at the offices, but we went back and did what we needed to.

A security guard on site told Independent Media that there was nothing that he could do as he worked alone, and the building is huge, so he just decides to turn a blind eye.

“At first there would be three of us on site, then it was easier for us to patrol the building, and that was before the front glass windows were broken. In all honesty, I see these boys when they enter here and some of them just enter just in front of me,” the security guard explained.

He further said there was not much inside the building but added that there was some equipment that was still in good condition.

Attempts to get hold of the Department of Infrastructure spokesperson, Alfred Nhlapo, were unsuccessful.

Initially, the provincial government had said abandoned buildings in Johannesburg would form part of the Kopanong Precinct Project, formerly known as the Gauteng Provincial Government Precinct, which was launched in 2003 and was expected to be completed in three to five years.

The project arose from the GPG’s ownership of its 19 buildings in the Johannesburg central business district that needed to be refurbished but did not speak to the ones outside of Johannesburg.

According to the Gauteng government website, construction would have involved the rehabilitation and redevelopment of up to 21 buildings in the CBD.

Saturday Star

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