Plans still underway to rebuild Rocklands Centre after it burnt down in December 2022

The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) held a media briefing regarding he Rocklands Property, in Mitchell’s Plain. This property that houses Shoprite and several other businesses was completely gutted after it caught alight in December 2022.

Since the building was left in a derelict state, many stealing building equipment such as bricks. The briefing included plans forward, demolition, rebuilding and security plans moving forward.

PICTURE: Facebook - Desrye Steyn

SEFA’s property portfolio manager, Matshidiso Pilane said back in February that vandalism and theft had pre-empted plans to have the building demolished. He added that security guards were also attacked.

‘’Our plan was very simple. There was a portion of the building that was burnt down. We had an immediate plan to secure the facility, demolish the parts burnt down, commence plans to fix or rebuild the portion that was burnt. We have engaged with Shoprite around that and we need to set out timelines regarding that.’’

‘’Unfortunately, it was not to be, as we witnessed of vandalism and attacks, so we engaged with Shoprite two weeks ago, but damage then spread to the roof of the building, security guards were attacked. At the moment, plans put in place – the contractor we appointed. It changes on a daily basis. Our plan has change, we have to sit and change to demolish the remainder of the building and not a portion of a Shoprite, pillars, etc.’’

SEFA head of department for stakeholder marketing and communication, Nothemba Gqiba, said the last step in its three-step process was to flatten the place to minimise the vandalism and vagrancy.

‘’We are demolishing the building, flattening the area to minimise the negative happenings such a vandalism and looting of the building. We are concerned about the repeated theft in the area.

Gqiba said they would like to share the plan with the community and allay their fears.

‘’The timelines are sketchy at the moment. We will possible meet up with possible stakeholders share the plan with them and allay their fears.

Pilane echoed Gqiba’s sentiment

‘’When we start with the new development, we must make sure the community is part of the solution to help and start the process. We need the community of Rocklands to assist.’’

Many relied on retailer, Shoprite for their daily living, and the big question remains will the store return to its former glory? SEFA’s property portfolio manager, Matshidiso Pilane, elaborates

‘’We have written to the retail group, and we can confirm that Shoprite said it is coming back. They are seriously interested in remaining there, so the centre qwill come back and Shoprite will be the main tenant. We have appointed an architect for the redesign so a bigger and better Shoprite are on the cards

Many residents in Rocklands complained at the time of a stench. Metal from the ruined Shoprite shopping centre, and left over waste was giving off a stench.

‘’The City of Cape Town has forwarded a complaint, We spoke to them. There is a company we wanted to appoint, but we had to remove the structure at first, then break the walls and collect the rotten food.’’

SEFA head of department for stakeholder marketing and communication, Nothemba Gqiba, reassured residents and various stakeholders that a plan to secure the property will be made available soon

‘’There is a planned engagement with various stakeholders to hear what they have in mind and come up with a plan

Rocklands neighbourhood watch members called for a stipend as they help protect infrastructure

‘’At the moment, we don’t have a remuneration, but going forward we can make a plan. We are a government agency so there is processes to follow, so we appreciate the NHW as they know the area better than the security company.’’

Rocklands residents and businesses met with SEFA in February and at the time they were not convinced that that the local shopping centre will be rebuilt due to a lack of funds

A follow up meeting will be held at Rocklands civic centre on the 18th of April

For Bush Radio news, I am Riyaaz Semaar


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