Gutted building gives off a stench

Rocklands Shoprite in ruins.

Metal from the ruined Shoprite shopping centre, in Rocklands, is being stolen and left over waste is giving off a stench.

The building that houses Shoprite and several other businesses was completely gutted after it caught alight on Wednesday December 14 (“Hawker had premonition of fire”, Plainsman December 20).

Since then there have been two other smaller fires started allegedly by skarrelers (people who scavenge for whatever they can sell) either taking shelter or burning metal.

Neighbours to the building refused to be named in the Plainsman but complained of the dirt being left behind by strollers.

A resident across from the building in Caravelle Street said he has had an infestation of flies.

“When the wind picks up the smell is unbearable.

“Last week I took my granddaughter to the doctor. Her throat was sore. It is not a nice smell,” he said.

The grandfather said he swatted flies at night and in the morning their were maggots lying on the ground.

“It is detrimental to our health,” he said.

A hawker who also refused to be named said that it is “fly season”.

He did not not want to draw attention to himself because he said the building had brought him business for many years.

He said that other neighbours were more affected by the stench and flies than him.

The building is cordoned off by barbed wire, and there are a few security guards and a dog.

There were a group of skarrelers waiting around and someone on the roof of the wreckage stealing cable, roof sheets and galvanised angle.

Another resident said: “These skarrelers are coming from outside of our area. As they walk, they sort and drop things on the ground. This is unacceptable,” he said.

The ruins of Rocklands Shoprite are being pillaged.

Shoprite’s media team said that they have handed over the condemned building and premises to its landlord, Small Enterprise Finance Agency Ltd care of Khula Business Premises Private Company (Pty limited), following the devastating fire that destroyed its Rocklands store.

“It is now the landlord’s responsibility, and we await feedback from their structural engineer and further details and time frames to get the premises cleared, rebuilt and the store operational to again serve the community,” they said in response to the Plainsman’s inquiry.

The landlord told the Plainsman they would answer questions at a later date.