Demolition of four buildings at Kaizer Flats begins

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Personnel of the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Army  at work in the Kaizer Flats enclave in Tema Community Four
Personnel of the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Army at work in the Kaizer Flats enclave in Tema Community Four

Personnel of the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Army on Monday started demolishing the four dilapidated buildings in the Kaizer Flats enclave in Tema Community Four.

The Tema Development Company Ltd (TDCL) awarded the contract to the 48 Engineers Regiment to clear the structures after a law court had declared them uninhabitable.

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Demolition

As of 10.30 a.m. when the Daily Graphic visited the site, three excavators had been deployed to pull down the structures.

Some personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) were also on hand to sprinkle water on the debris as the exercise went on to minimise the spread of dust.


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Roads in front of the structures had also been barricaded and the routes diverted to prevent any mishap.

Signs had also been mounted at various points to warn pedestrians about the work being executed.

Ahead of Monday's exercise, electricity and water supply to the affected blocks was disconnected

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The demolition exercise is expected to be completed in three months.

Evacuation

In February this year, about 300 individuals, representing 60 families, occupying the four blocks of flats, earmarked for demolition, were evacuated under the joint supervision of officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the TDCL, the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), the Ghana Police Service and personnel from the National Security.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Protocol and Administrative Officer of the TDCL, Mr Ian Okwei, said prior to the demolition, residents of the enclave had been briefed by stakeholders on the mode of demolition, timelines for the exercise and safety measures to be adhered to prior, during and after the exercise, which is expected to last about 16 weeks maximum.

He said as a measure to control the dust emanating from the site, personnel of the GNFS had been contracted to be at the site and spray water on the debris as the demolition went on to reduce dust inhalation and attend to other emergencies that might come about.

The knocking down of the structures will enable the TDCL to redevelop the place into modern apartments, as part of efforts to meet the country’s housing deficit.

History

The Kaizer Flats were built in the 1960s to provide residential accommodation for workers in the industrial area. Over the years, the structures outlived their purpose and developed severe structural defects as well

The four flats, which are blocks 407, 408, 410 and 411, had since 1982 been declared uninhabitable by the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL), but the occupants had been in and out of court battling with the authorities over the issue until a definite directive was given by the High Court in 2018, asking the occupants to vacate by January 31, 2018 for its original owners, the TDCL,  to carry out a demolition exercise.