Brakpan Mall to get council attention

Michelle Crous, who sells second-hand items from a kiosk in the Brakpan Mall, has to cope with the filthy and sometimes hazardous conditions on a daily basis.

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is working on a strategy to address the various maintenance issues and needs at the Brakpan Mall.

The filthy conditions at the mall were highlighted in a letter published in the May 19 edition of the Herald, titled ‘Job creation going to waste at the mall’.

Submitted by the Catholic Church Justice and Peace Group of Brakpan, the letter noted with sadness how infrastructural amenities in Brakpan are left to rot away.

They named the Brakpan Mall as one such facility.

A portion of the letter reads: ‘Today, this business centre is a shadow of its former glory, a place criminals use as a hideout and drug addicts frequent. We are deeply concerned about the type of health hazard the rotten nature of this particular centre is producing.’

Read the full letter here: Brakpan in the grip of urban decay

The group implored council to consider the following:

• Clean up the centre and evacuate those people using it as a place to perpetuate crime.

• Make the toilets workable and useable.

• Put burglar bars on the toilets and the shops.

• Put up a security post to monitor the centre.

• Put strategies in place to attract investors who can take over the place and manage it as a centre of low-rental shops.

• The street hawkers, who are littering the streets with rubbish, can be redirected to the centre to use it as a flea market where they can pay some weekly dues and be controlled properly.

Watch:

According to Ekurhuleni spokesperson Themba Gadebe, the shopping malls that have sprung up on the outskirts of towns over the last couple of years have unfortunately had a detrimental effect on Central Business Districts (CBDs), as most customers now do their shopping at the new malls.

“The Brakpan Mall was once a bee-hive of activity, but unfortunately due to the fact that various retail outlets, restaurants, the post office and even a bank group closed their doors or relocated elsewhere, it resulted in the current decaying urban environment,” he said.

“The City of Ekurhuleni’s Real Estate Department is responsible for the leasing out of the stalls situated within the Brakpan Mall.

“Although nominal rentals are levied, there are just not enough feet passing through to make it profitable for our lessees.

“In some instances, lessees are running into financial difficulties and cannot even afford to pay their rental over to the council anymore.

“Consequently, lease agreements are then terminated.

“It must also be added that in some instances, individuals or vagrants take illegal occupation of the vacant, unlettable stalls.

“The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department is assisting by conducting regular raids in dealing with crime, drugs, illegal parking within the mall’s paved areas as well as the removal of vagrants.

“The stalls are indeed in a serious state of disrepair and the ablution facility has also been vandalised.

“This department, in collaboration with the various other departments within the City, are currently working on a strategy to address the various maintenance issues and needs.

“The City in the meantime will focus on cleaning-up operations on a regular basis and to deal with other service delivery challenges.

“It can further be confirmed that the City’s Customer Relations Management Department through Urban Management Division, has been tasked to develop a sustainability plan to address the progressive decay of the CBDs within the City of Ekurhuleni’s jurisdiction.”

A visit to the mall by the Herald on Friday last week, revealed a putrid hotbed of filth, where vulgar graffiti marks the walls, vandalised shops are in urgent need of repair and a horrible stench clings to the air.

The pavements were soiled with human excrement and mounds of broken glass, plastic bags, papers, cold drink cans, cigarette ends and other rubbish.

Brazen drug dealers peddled their wares in broad daylight and vagrants slept in shop doorways amidst their ragtag belongings.

Used hypodermic needles were observed among the discarded litter and a steady stream of sewage trickled down Victoria Street from the broken toilets – a stone’s throw from where people are trying to make a living selling goods from the kiosks.

Michelle Crous, who sells second-hand items from a kiosk, told the Herald she has no choice but to brave the filth.

“I have a family to look after so I have to sit here every day among the rubbish and the horrible smell,” she said.

“Metro workers do come and clean from time to time, but they need to come every day.”

As for the metro’s plans for the mall, Michelle was not impressed, claiming council has made many broken promises over the years.

“They have said that something will be done over and over again, but nothing is ever done.”

More photos:

Also read: Two arrested for drug possession in Brakpan CBD

Councillor raises concerns

Poor service delivery sets us back

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  AUTHOR
Stacy Slatter
News Editor

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