Bloemfontein residents say the many abandoned buildings in the city are exposing them to criminal activities. The dilapidated buildings are also a safety concern as some are occupied or used as business premises.

Residents and business people are calling for immediate intervention from authorities.

“This thing is not good for us because of our health, some people are sick and they are putting people there to live. And people that use drugs and robberies take place. So, we are not safe.”

“They are busy selling drugs and are selling to small children for the young kids. Which is totally wrong.”

“The street children they were breaking in, one day there was no electricity, what they did they lit paper to see and they burnt the place. And they burnt it so badly and when the municipality came to extinguish the fire there was no water.”

The Mangaung Metro Municipality says they have closed buildings that were not complying with by-laws. Early last year, the municipality inspected the buildings and penalised owners who were not in compliance.

The inspections are part of the financially troubled metro’s revenue collection efforts.

Metro spokesperson, Qondile Khedama says the buildings also pose a  serious threat to investors.

“There’s a serious threat to investors in the city. So, we will be going out, we are sending a strong message to say get your house in order, otherwise, we are going to impose a very serious penalty. Because part of this it’s making sure that we also collect the revenue that these people do not bring to the city itself.”