Home News RC Elliot Hall has become a ’breeding ground for criminals’

RC Elliot Hall has become a ’breeding ground for criminals’

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Galeshewe residents say the RC Elliot Hall, which used to render social services to the community, has been transformed into a crime hot spot that most residents avoid.

File picture: Danie van der Lith

RESIDENTS in Galeshewe have highlighted that the RC Elliot Hall, which used to render social services to the community, has been transformed into a crime hot spot that most residents avoid.

Although millions of rand were spent to renovate the facility, the hall is currently just a derelict skeleton of what it used to be.

A man fell to his death at the building on Monday while he was apparently busy trying to steal metal beams from the roof of the building.

The man’s body was discovered by Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers on Monday morning.

The man died after he fell several metres and apparently cracked his skull.

A puddle of blood remained on the concrete floor after the body was removed by forensics.

Residents said the incident is just the latest in a slew of criminal incidents at the dilapidated hall.

“This hall used to be used for so many services. There were many older people who used to get their pension money here. The hall was also used as a training and activity centre for the youth. Nowadays, our youth are just loafing in the streets as there is no facility where they can do extracurricular activities. That is a huge loss to the entire area as this facility provided services to the entire Galeshewe,” the residents said.

They added that the “rotten” building has become a haven for criminals.

“This building is dilapidated and a breeding ground for criminal activities. The building has been stripped of some of its material. Access into the grounds is not challenging as there is no security present on the grounds. This incident is just one of the reported incidents that occur here.

“It is heartbreaking that a facility that is supposed to bring relief to the community has now turned into a place that should be avoided. Even the library that is on the same grounds as the recreation hall is not a safe space for our children. This is an open space where anyone can walk in at any time.

“Even though the Sol Plaatje Municipality has knowledge of the state of this place, there is absolutely nothing they have done to rectify the situation. After a section of the hall burnt down years back, nothing has been done to renovate the facility. It is now just left to rot away.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said a claim was lodged to renovate the hall but attempts to revamp the facility have been in vain.

“A claim was lodged through the Asset Management Office to claim damages after the 2018 protests. An assessor was sent by the insurance company and an assessment was made. While waiting for the outcome from the insurance company for two years, the hall was further vandalised to the state that is currently in,” said Matsie.

“The sport and recreation section, jointly with the maintenance section, did their level best to secure the hall and to prevent some of the activities that occurred at the hall. The hall was fenced and boards were placed as warning signs to the public not to enter the vandalised facility. The boards and fence were unfortunately stolen.”

Matsie said the insurance payment could not cover the costs of the repair work required.

“Confirmation from the insurance company was only received in 2020 and payment was made. Unfortunately the payout only covered the damage that resulted before the claim was lodged and not subsequent vandalism of the hall, which is estimated to be more than R5 million.

“An amount R2.8 million was paid for all municipal buildings including the three halls that were vandalised. The recreation, social centre and Greenpoint hall were fixed with those funds. The social centre was unfortunately damaged again during the lockdown.”

Matsie said there were plans to appoint security on the premises.

“We have received permission from the municipal manager to appoint access controllers or security to guard municipal parks and recreation facilities that are being targeted. The closing date for the application for the guards was on November 22, 2021 ad we are hoping that the guards will be appointed in December this year.”

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