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Mzansi mourns 'death' of Soweto cinema, but here's why you shouldn't worry just yet

Department says no decision to demolish Eyethu Cinema will be taken without public engagement and extensive engagements with relevant stakeholders

The city of Joburg has denied claims that it will demolish the Eyethu Cinema to make way for a shopping mall. In a statement issued on Monday, it said no decision has been taken on the iconic site. File photo.
The city of Joburg has denied claims that it will demolish the Eyethu Cinema to make way for a shopping mall. In a statement issued on Monday, it said no decision has been taken on the iconic site. File photo.
Image: Twitter/ Kasi Economy

The department of arts and culture in the city of Johannesburg has cleared the air on claims it approved the demolition of the Eyethu Cinema in the Mofolo section of Soweto, to make way for a shopping mall. 

“According to the [National] Heritage [Resources] Act, approval by the heritage authority is required for the demolition, improvement or otherwise of a structure that has any heritage significance, including the ones over 60 years that will be impacted upon by any development,” it said in a statement.

Social media users were up in arms after claims the iconic site would soon be no more.

TimesLIVE's sister publication SowetanLIVE reported last year that the fate of the iconic but dilapidated centre remained unknown, as the vacant land was rumoured to be earmarked for development.

The department confirmed it received an application through the provincial heritage resources authority of Gauteng (PHRA-G) but it has not been approved due to the “complexity” of the matter and outstanding documentation.

“PHRA-G finds Eyethu Cinema a significant heritage, cultural and social site with possibilities of restoration, hence the matter is being handled with the required diligence and sensitivity,” said the department, adding that no decision would be taken without public engagement and extensive engagements with relevant stakeholders. 


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