Filth greets patrons to Khayelitsha library

Rubbish collecting alongside the library.

Visiting the Khayelitsha library is no longer a pleasurable experience as patrons are greeted by pools of dirty water and rubbish covering the pavement outside.

The guard room behind the library has been ransacked by criminals.

The library has been in this shocking state for nearly two years.

Ward 99 councillor Thando Mpengesi said it was extremely disappointing for the staff and library users to be subjected to such awful conditions.

Smelly water outside Khayelitsha library.

He believes that a library should be a place of comfort where children are encouraged to learn and achieve academic success.

It is crucial to keep this community institution clean, presentable and appealing to users, said Mr Mpengesi.

However, he said the City of Cape Town has failed dismally to ensure that the library is kept at a good standard.

The library was no longer providing a pleasant environment and experience for its users.

He said he is constantly worried about the health of the staff who render a crucial service in the community.

He also fears children could develop allergies, skin irritation or other illnesses because of the sludge and rubbish.

Mr Mpengesi said when he was informed about this matter he immediately informed the City officials with the hope that it would be attended to.

However, he said it was not surprising to see the City not attending to this matter because it was a library situated in Khayelitsha.

“We can’t keep quiet when this library is in this shocking state. We want the library to be cleaned by the City as it is responsible for that.

“The guard room is a haven for criminals. Criminals have stolen equipment from the guard rooms and turned into it upside down.

“As the leadership, we have taken a decision to bring in a non-governmental organisation to occupy the guard rooms. We fear that the criminals would break into the library and our offices.

“We also fear for the safety of the workers at the library. I make an impassioned plea to the City to respond to fix this. Parents fear for their children’s health and some do not want their children to make use of this library.

“I honestly don’t blame them for that,” he said.

The guard room has been turned upside down.

Mayoral committee member for community service and health, Zahid Badroodien, confirmed to Vukani that the City library and information service department is aware of the situation at Khayelitsha library.

Mr Badroodien said the blocked drains and resultant flooding around the library has been reported to the City’s facility management department for urgent resolution.

However, he said the facilities management held a site meeting with a contractor on Thursday February 4, to assess the damage and await a quotation from the contractors to attend to the matter as soon as possible – and the department will liaise with the facilities management to expedite the repair work.