Central Park Shopping Centre in Bloemfontein a Ticking Time Bomb

ActionSA’s oversight visit to Central Park Business Centre exposed Mangaung Metro’s hesitancy to enforce by-laws, this is after getting numerous requests from the concerned citizens, to see how the Metro’s lethargy is risking people’s lives and killing economic opportunities.

The Centre is situated in the CBD where there is a bus terminal and a taxi rank. It houses 48 businesses and employs thousands of locals. It is a transit point for two million commuters every month from Botshabelo, Bloemfontein, Thaba Nchu, Soutpan, and Brandfort, this includes students and learners in and around Bloemfontein.

I would appear that all of Bloemfontein’s water drainage system is blocked to the extent that when it rains Central Park Shopping Centre gets flooded, particularly the shops on the lower ground.

They have asked assistance from the Mangaung Metro Municipality whose officials are operating in acting capacity with no power to make major decisions. Their cries for help fell on deaf ears.

The emergency exit points are obstructed by street vendors which means that  exit points would be congested if there were to be an emergency which threatens the life and limb of Mangaung’s residents.

The whole of Central Park is encircled by uncollected refuse, the stench is unbearable, and this plight is felt more by street vendors selling food. It is difficult to sell food to people in such an unhygienic environment. Mangaung Metro is doing nothing to assist these businesses.

The building is inaccessible to people with disabilities and nothing has been done by the Metro to ensure that the building complies with set regulations.

To make matters worse, criminal activity is rampant in this building, people are mugged openly, and there is no police visibility. There is a Police Station in the building but it is so under-resourced such that it is only used for certifying documents.

ActionSA is in the process of setting up a meeting with the Metro, SAPS, Business Chamber, Hawkers Association and all other affected stakeholders to chart a way forward on how to bring order in this chaotic situation. Most importantly how to leverage on this to create a thriving economic hub in the CBD.

It is clear that the situation is exacerbated by the collapse of governance and political infighting that has become the preoccupation of the ANC in the Free State.

ActionSA’s commitment to the South African Dream is not a pie-in-the-sky vision of what our nation can become. It is an unwavering belief that there are better days if we unite behind a collective objective to fix South Africa.