Union Buildings: Heritage building illegally demolished will remain so | The Citizen

Attempts to restore the illegally demolished heritage building at the Union Buildings were unsuccessful because the original materials and the historic technical documentation to replicate the design were no longer available.

Matter has been escalated to relevant departments

South African Heritage Resources Agency officer Gcobani Sipoyo said they were aware of the issue.

“We issued a compulsory repair order to deal with the rehabilitation of the buildings. The department tasked with managing the property, the department of public works, is currently dealing with the matter internally,” he said.

Department of public works and infrastructure spokesperson Thami Mchunu confirmed the demolished building was state-owned.

“The Glasshouse was part of Vredehuis, a portion of the Union Buildings in Tshwane and a national heritage site. The Glasshouse and the site were used by our tenant, the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development (GDARD). GDARD was responsible for looking after the building and site,” Mchunu said.

Mchunu said GDARD carried out demolition and renovation work without the necessary authorisation from either the department of public works and infrastructure or the relevant heritage authority, the South African Heritage Resources Agency.

“Several processes to remedy the situation were investigated, including reconstruction and replication. These proved impossible to carry out because the original materials and their detailing is no longer available. There is also insufficient historic technical documentation available to replicate the design exactly as it was, “Chunu said.

Damaged buildings

Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow deputy minister of public works and infrastructure Madeleine Hicklin said the buildings have been invaded by vagrants through destroyed and broken palisade fencing.

“Vredehuis was once the proud home to the Gauteng state veterinary services, The Plant Protection Research Institute and the National Collection of Insects and Mycology Section of the Plant Protection Research Institute,” she said.

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