Fencing of Nelson Mandela Bay libraries under way

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is spending R1.2m on fencing the Newton Park Library as part of beefing up security at libraries that have fallen victim to vandalism
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is spending R1.2m on fencing the Newton Park Library as part of beefing up security at libraries that have fallen victim to vandalism
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After years of vandals targeting libraries in Nelson Mandela Bay, the municipality is spending millions of rand on fencing the facilities.

Libraries have been easy targets, with councillors last week hearing how a woman was allegedly raped at a library and staff at KwaDwesi were held at gunpoint.

Libraries, just like community halls and stadiums, have been vandalised in recent years, with the situation having worsened during the national hard lockdown.

Authorities have condemned the vandalism and called on communities to help protect facilities.

On Friday, sport, recreation, arts and culture political boss Helga van Staaden said they were forced to beef up security at libraries because of vandalism.

She said R1m had been spent fencing the Chatty Library, with refurbishment of the badly vandalised facility to follow.

The Newton Park Library was also being fenced. 

“It comes at a cost of R1.2m and is part of our anti-vandalism strategy, with the plans put in place by the anti-vandalism steering committee to secure our facilities.

“I’m happy that we are implementing what we have decided, and furthermore we will see the availability of budget and what other work we can do for the upgrade of our facilities.

 “We have to ask our residents to keep an eye on these buildings.

“They are public facilities meant for everybody.

“If you see anything sinister happening, please inform our police,” she said.

Van Staaden condemned the vandalism, saying taxpayers would have to fork out more than R500,000 to fix the roof at the Chatty Library and the Allanridge Library had been closed because of the extent of vandalism.

Ward 7 caretaker councillor Rene Meyer was pleased with the security upgrade at the Newton Park Library.

“This library has had a problem with vagrants who tend to sleep here, as well as some illegal dumping that takes place within the grounds, so having the new fence up will prevent that from happening, which in turn will make it safe for the community to come use this library again.”

Meyer is an acting ward councillor because John Best is a safety and security political boss.

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