Outrage over the extended closure of the Bellville library

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By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Feb 19, 2021

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Cape Town – Residents of Bellville are outraged by the extended closure of the Bellville Library due to a central air conditioning problem.

The library was closed on January 6 after the air conditioning system was vandalized two years ago. Residents say they did not have a schedule for repairing the outage.

Resident Louise Miller said that since Jan. 7 she had tried to access the library about five times only to be told it was closed.

“No one could give me an explanation or a reason or tell me when it would reopen. On Wednesday I finally got hold of a Mrs. Bessinger at the library who informed me that their air conditioners were not working and it was a long repair process as a tender had to go out and be approved and it was quite a costly exercise.

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“I asked him that a few fans upstairs in the library will certainly be of great help, and his response was that only the staff have fans. So for almost two months and who knows how much longer, staff will be paid for doing nothing at the library, ”she said.

Another resident, Grace Kabwe, said the closure of the library bothered a lot because it was a place that catered for all age groups. She said that with the school reopening it would have devastating implications.

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“My sister used to organize transportation with other parents to drop her children off at the library where they would do their homework and she would pick them up when she was done working. Children could use school books and explore other books. So, with the library closed for so long, learning is off limits for children, and now they’re more focused on cellphones and things online, ”she said.

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Community health and safety mayor Zahid Badroodien said the library would be closed indefinitely and reopen when the air conditioning system was repaired. Badroodien said if the City were to consider the “Drop and Collect” service, ventilation would still be an issue.

“The Library and Information Department liaised with the City’s Facilities Management Department to resolve this issue. The City is in the process of setting up a call for tenders and the latest communication from the relevant ministry indicated that this would happen in the coming weeks. The latest communication indicates that a clarification meeting with the contractor will take place on February 26, ”he said.

Cape Argus

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