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City office burnt again

The municipal office in Macassar has been deemed unusable after yet another fire completely gutted the building earlier this week.

It is alleged the blaze was intentionally ignited by a group of protesters from a local informal settlement in the early hours of Tuesday morning (30 October). This is the second incident of its kind at the facility this year. The first incident occurred on Monday 30 April and left a section of the building, located in Bind Avenue, in ruins and unusable (“Macassar municipal building razed”, DistrictMail, 3 May).

According to a statement by the City of Cape Town, the group of “militants” accosted the on-duty security guards and forced their way onto the premises, doused tyres with petrol and set it alight inside the building. “Sadly, the section of the building that was spared the last time suffered extensive damage [on Tuesday] rendering the facility unusable,” the statement read.

“According to the very shaken security guards, the men were looking for the local ward councillor.” This was also the case when disgruntled protestors torched a section of the building in April, demanding better service delivery and to speak to Ward 109 councillor Victor Isaacs.

The City further stated it has received information that the protest action was related to housing opportunities for informal dwellers.

Stuart Diamond, Mayoral Committee member for Assets and Facilities Management, strongly condemned the attack. “This wanton destruction of City facilities has become the norm . . . The Macassar municipal office provides a vital service, especially to the most vulnerable residents who will now have to make their way to other facilities incurring unnecessary expenses in the process,” he said.

“No-one benefits from such destruction. It could well be family and friends of the very same men who are now being placed at a bigger disadvantage due to the malicious intent and behaviour of the group. We are thankful that the security guards were unharmed although they were visibly shaken by the ordeal.”

No arrests have been made and Diamond urged the community to speak out and report the perpetrators to Macassar police.

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