Commando barracks to be sold

The entrance to what used to be the Rietfontein Commando.

The derelict Rietfontein Commando base has fallen into a state of decay, raising many concerns by local residents and business owners.

Also known as the Edenvale Commando/Barracks, the building, together with the current Sebenza Police Station, used to house a wing of the South African Defence Force.

The future of the building and land was questioned by locals as it attracts vagrants and criminal activity.

Due to limited funds, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) conducts a clean up of the stand once a year, after a rainy season.

A report requesting EMM for permission to demolish the building and sell the land by public tender was served before the agenda workgroup on October 23. The same report was forwarded to the Head of Department Real Estate for scrutiny. The building will be demolished once a council resolution is passed.

Suggestions were made by local ward councillors and residents that the building, or stand, could be refurbished and used as a shelter for homeless people. Spokesperson for the EMM, Mr Samuel Modiba, said there is an existing geotechnical report which found that a toxic implication would apply if the land was used for human habitation. “Therefore, the successful bidder can only use it for industrial purposes,” he said.

Security concerns have been raised numerous times as the building is sheltered from sight. EMM has tried on several occasions to secure the property with padlocks, but without success. “Each and every time a lock is replaced, the transgressors would break the lock. The palisade pillars are stolen bit by bit and it is uneconomical to fix the palisade (every time),” he said. Mr Modiba added that the sale of the property would provide a permanent solution.

Residents are urged to report any criminal activity to the Sebenza SAPS.

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