The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality’s executive committee (exco) has voted to expedite the demolition of the fire-damaged China Emporium building located west of Durban’s central business district (CBD), deemed a public safety hazard.
Bringing the building down will reportedly cost the municipality R28 million. It said it will recover the cost from building owners Zoloscore Investments.
According to the municipality, the millions will cover the demolition, rubble clearing, cleaning the property and securing the site afterwards.
The city confirmed this week that it plans to go ahead with the demolition, noting that doing so will avoid, among other challenges, the risk of structural collapse, illegal dumping and unsanctioned public use of the building.
The exact date of the demolition is unclear, but municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana told Moneyweb in an emailed response to questions that it can only take place after supply chain management processes have been concluded. Sisilana noted that completing this process is a priority.
Long time coming
According to the municipality, the building’s fate was sealed following a report by structural engineers that recommended it be brought to the ground after being severely damaged in a fire that broke out in January 2022.
Following the owners’ non-compliance, a court order was handed down in favour of the municipality in…