Cape Town’s City Hall needs a R25 million fix

Cape Town City Hall

Anél Lewis of IOL writes:

‘It will cost at least R25 million to make essential repairs and upgrades to the city hall, which has not been fully renovated for the past 20 years, says the City of Cape Town.

Repair work on the site where Nelson Mandela made his speech after his release from prison in 1990 had been “piecemeal”, said Freddy Prince, of the city’s tourism, events and marketing directorate.

He said the R2m budgeted a year for maintenance work was “not sufficient”.

“The facility is in major need of an upgrade,” said Rade Boskovic, of tourism, events and marketing, in a report. There have been several upgrade projects since 2009, costing about R4m. But an overall renovation of the building, which was built in 1905, was delayed because of budgetary limits and other competing priorities in the city.

It will cost R25m just to upgrade the electrical system, repair the roof and the gutters, upgrade the auditorium and repair the organ.

The department has asked for an additional capital budget of R20m for the next financial year and R60m for 2015 for a conservation management plan to deal with the maintenance backlog and look at restoration requirements.

“Due to the age of the facility, there is a natural degradation of the elements within the facility. These must be addressed in order to prevent the facility from falling into a state of disrepair and reaching a point where repair and maintenance would create a substantial financial burden on the City of Cape Town and appear, on face value, unfeasible,” said Boskovic.

“Immediate intervention is required to mitigate this risk and financial burden.”

The various installations which had been done over the years had also damaged parts of the building, and copper theft had left the building without box gutter linings.

Boskovic said a conservation management plan would make sure that future repair work protected the heritage aspects of the building. It would also look at ways the building could be used to generate income.

Current city projects at the city hall include the installation of wi-fi, the upgrade of the electrical distribution board and installation of CCTV cameras.’