By line: Andani Matumba

22 February 2022

Sijongile Ndamase was once known to be the most beautiful community hall in Embalenhle.

The hall is situated next to Embalenhle Mall, Police Station and the Langverwacht clinic

In 2019 the community raised an alarm to the municipality about the deteriorating state of the hall.

Instead of responding to the plea of the community, the municipality decided to close the door and called upon the community not to use it until it is renovated.  

On Friday, 18 February 2022, the Govan Mbeki Arts and Culture Movement (GMACM) took it upon themselves to restore the state of Sijongile Ndamase Community Hall in eMbalenhle by teaming up with law enforcers to remove a group of addicts who had occupied the hall and turned it into a drug hub.

The illegal occupiers are also alleged to have been vandalizing the property by detaching doors, windows and other structures attached to the building.

After the removal of the addicts, the members of GMACM made a call to community members to come together, as part of the “Clean Sijonjile Ndamase” campaign and clean the hall.

The members of the community responded well to the campaign which took place on Saturday, 19 February 2022.

The members brought their own cleaning equipment.

The illegal occupants had turned the hall into their own home where they smoked and slept.

The stage, cardboards and other wood furnisher were dismantled and was used to make fire by the said occupants.

The children from the community could not use the nearby park anymore.

When Seskhona Newspaper visited the said property last week, there were no children on site but all that changed during a revisit of Saturday.

Mr Absolom Nkabinde, Chairperson of GMCM said, “We have a plan to renovate this structure to its intended purpose.

We want to make it accessible to local choirs, hosting of talent shows and beauty pageants as well as concerts by local artists.

Most events were now held at churches and it is difficult because the churches also have their own events which would take priority”.

According to the General Secretary of GMCM, Mr Aubrey Nhaduate, a meeting was held with the Executive Mayor of Govan Mbeki Municipality, Cllr Nhlakanipho Zuma, in Secunda and he is willing to work with the youth of eMbalenhle and to also assist in renovating the hall to its appealing state.

“The youth calls to the Municipality and local businesses to provide funding to renovate and maintain the said property”, said Nhadute.

A request was made to the local police to patrol the area to ensure that those illegal occupants do not return and that no illegal activities take place within the premises of Sijongile Ndamase Community Hall.

In support of cleaning campaign and amongst the cleaners was PR Cllr, Lwandile Ziwele and delegates from the GMM Fire Station in eMbalenhle who ensured that there was enough water for a squeaky clean community hall.