Dilapidation of old library building ‘deplorable’

Henry

The fire that left Brakpan’s abandoned library building in ruins on Friday evening could have been prevented. This is the view of the FF Plus, which now also demands that the Ekurhuleni metro rebuild this building.

According to Riaan van Zyl, a board member of the FF Plus, in 2022 there were several people who were interested in taking over and restoring the abandoned building.

Brakpan’s current library was put into use in 2017 and since then the old library in Kingsway Avenue has been empty.

“Vandals looted the old library, which was completed and put into use in 1933, of everything that might be valuable and even defaced the exterior walls with graffiti,” says Van Zyl.

RNews reported earlier that a case of arson was being investigated after the building went up in flames.

According to William Ntladi, spokesperson for the Ekurhuleni emergency services, the fire brigade received a call shortly after 19:00. The fire station is a stone’s throw from the abandoned building and according to him, some members of the fire brigade simply ran to the premises.

Members of the local neighborhood watch also informed the FF Plus.

“When the party arrived on the scene, the emergency services were already trying to put out the fire,” says Van Zyl.

He confirmed that a case of arson is being investigated.

As far as RNews could determine, no one has been arrested yet. No other buildings were damaged and no one was injured during the incident.

Van Zyl says the old library is the second notable building that has been destroyed in a fire in Brakpan within a year. In March last year, the clubhouse of Brakpan’s bowling alleys was also destroyed in a fire.

“It is regrettable that the Ekurhuleni Metro did not preserve the old library in Brakpan and did not want to rent the building to interested individuals or institutions, who were willing to restore and preserve the building,” says Van Zyl.

The FF Plus will request the municipality to rebuild the old building and then declare it a memorial.