Joburg’s Rissik Street Post Office revamp

22 April 2016

Destroyed in a fire in November 2009, Joburg’s historic Rissik Street Post Office is being restored to its previous glory. The iconic building is one of the city’s heritage sites.

“The Rissik Street Post Office building was severely vandalised and damaged by fire, therefore a significant danger exists of further deterioration of this heritage structure,” Helen Botes, the chief executive of Joburg Property Company (JPC), told The Star newspaper.

“The frontage has always been Rissik Street but we want to have a more exciting and contemporary-style entrance,” Botes added.

It was currently being partially renovated to ensure the structural integrity of the building and to enable interim use while funding was being sought for comprehensive restoration. “Long-term plans include the full restoration of the building and the securing of a long-term public use agreement.”

Rissik Street post office

Helen Botes, chief executive of JPC says they want a more contemporary entrance for the Rissik Street post office, currently being refurbished. (Image: Gauteng Film Commission, Brand South Africa)

The renovation is estimated to cost R147-million and begins with the excavations for the columns. There’ll also be a structural active scan which includes radar scanning, exposures for the bases and repairs to the core extraction, and the procurement of the required steel, which has been fabricated in line with the designs.

The post office’s main hall and north wing will be refurbished for flexible use, while the rest is being finalised. The area will also be made safe and cordoned off to ensure the public cannot enter the building.

Long-term, the plan includes a complete heritage restoration, completed in line with heritage guidelines, regulations and public meetings provided by the Gauteng Provincial Heritage Resources Authority.

Built in 1897, at one stage the Rissik Street Post Office was Joburg’s tallest building at 102 metres. “It operated until it was vacated by the South African Post Office in 1996. Characterised by its bold mix of architectural styles, the building was proclaimed a national monument in 1978.”

Joburgers tweeted their delight at seeing signs of refurbishment:

Source: City of Joburg