Another week has gone by and Tzaneen is now not an inch nearer to a conclusive riposte from Shamira Rinderknecht regarding the future of her Letaba Boulevard building which desecrates the landscape of an otherwise picturesque daily commute.
Three weeks ago a large plume of smoke was seen poetically rising above the faded over-sized Coca-Cola bottle which stands guard over the memories of what was once a beautiful, popular shopping centre. A cigarette butt was said to have caused a fire somewhere between the service corridors that could have led to a catastrophic blaze had the local fire department not been proficient enough to extinguish it in its infancy.
Bulletin documented the events of the morning of the 20th of August live over our Facebook page. The footage went viral and caught the attention of our municipal manager, Thapelo Matlala, who accompanied Bulletin editor Joe Dreyer to the site for an inspection of the premises an hour after the incident. Matlala was appalled at the state of the structure and that following morning called a meeting with Rinderknecht.
Following the meeting, the notoriously publicity-shy businesswoman contacted Dreyer and explained that she would like to meet that following Friday at the site to cast clarity over the future of the building. The meeting never took place and subsequent talks over text messages and phone calls resulted in further planned meetings not being met.
This week, on Monday morning, we called Rinderknecht for comment once more. This time we were met with a much different response. When asked whether we could speak to her for a few minutes, she simply answered with “no thank you” before putting the phone down. We sent her a text requesting comment on the plans for the Boulevard. We are still awaiting a response.
There were plans in the making for a R50 million revamp and return it to its former glory back in 2016, but those too proved to be nothing but empty promises as construction never started. Before that, in 2011 similar plans were unveiled and these too, amounted to nothing.
She also owns the Hans Merensky golf estate in Phalaborwa.
In January 2012 Rinderknecht was allegedly forced to sell some of her properties to the Palabora Mining Company (PMC) in order to settle debt believed to have been in the region of R5 million. At the time it was reported that home owners on the golf estate were planning legal action against her. She is also said to have waved an offer of R45 million to sell the estate during this same period.
Rindeknecht is currently involved in a court battle which sees her and co-accused, Corne Langenhoven, facing charges of contravening the environmental management act at the Hans Merensky Golf Estate in Phalaborwa. The matter went to court in November 2018 and is still ongoing.