“The destroyed area includes local supermarkets, food stalls, storage facilities for street hawkers, warehouses for various supermarkets in town and various salons.”
A BUSINESS area in Kuruman was gutted by a massive fire on Sunday morning, just before it was about to be demolished to make way for a new commercial development.
The area, well known as ‘Dihokong’, is situated opposite the Tlharo Tlhaping store and housed several businesses.
The main structure was acquired by Ga-Segonyana Local Municipality for R7.5 million from Transnet in 2015 as part of its strategic investing strategy.
It is suspected that the cause of the fire was illegal electricity connections.
It is believed that the fire started in the early hours of Sunday morning, at around 1.30am. The Ga-Segonyana Municipality fire team, the JTG fire department and a private Kuruman fire outfit were able to extinguish the fire.
Ga-Segonyana municipal manager Martin Tsatsimpe said the fire gutted the municipal-owned building, also known as the old Transnet Building, which is located next to the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) Hub.
Tsatsimpe said the newly-built R10m million SMME Hub, which was donated by Khumani Mine for the benefit of local SMMEs, was not affected.
“The destroyed area includes local supermarkets, food stalls, storage facilities for street hawkers, warehouses for various supermarkets in town and various salons,” said Tsatsimpe.
He added that the car dealership building situated within the same location was also gutted by fire. “Luckily all the vehicles within the building could be removed in time.”
“No one was reported injured, however, the small businesses in the section affected by the fire have lost their belongings.
“The bottle store, fruit and veg store, fuel station, gas store and other storage warehouses within the municipal property were also not affected.”
Tsatsimpe said it was estimated that the damages would run into millions of rand.
Community members pointed out that the area has been a concern for many years due to illegal operations and electricity connections.
Some said that it should have been demolished a long time ago.
Tsatsimpe pointed out that the area had been earmarked for demolition in November to make space for commercial development.
“The place was supposed to have been closed a long time ago after the municipality issued the tenants with notices two years ago.
“We followed the necessary procedures and relocated the tenants, of which we prioritised locals, to the new SMME Hub that was donated by Khumani Mine.
“The SMME building accommodates about 59 stalls.
“There was already a private developer appointed in 2017 and the process was just delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak.”