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No, staircase not stolen from flats in Eldorado Park, South Africa

A Facebook post claims a whole staircase was stolen from a building in Eldorado Park, a suburb in South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg. It was uploaded in 2015 but is still being shared to this day.

The post shows three storeys of a block of flats with the staircase seemingly wrenched away.

The caption reads: “U wake up in the morning and u find that ur stairs has been stolen. Joburg e special shem. True story... it happened today in Eldorado Park.”

Not stolen, removed for renovation

But a 2015 News24 report on the incident reveals that the truth about the staircase was “altogether less sinister”.  

The residents of the block on Diamant Street wanted “to set the record straight”, the article says. An anonymous couple living on the second floor said they had been getting calls from people asking what happened to their stairs. “Our stairs were not stolen. They were broken down for renovations.”

A resident told News24 said that "the concrete stairs were broken down” on 12 May 2015 and “new metal stairs were supposed to be installed within a week” of that.

Many residents were worried about the safety of the situation. “Construction of the new staircase for that block was not yet complete and one of the tenants had come home to find that her home had been broken into,” News24 reported.

‘They can’t steal stairs!’

Radio station 702 reported at the time that Michelle Valentine, a city councillor for Eldorado Park, had dismissed claims that the photo showed that the stairs had been stolen from the block of flats.

“There are renovations going on; they can't steal stairs! Please man! The families got money to go and rent with families and friends. I think it's just mischief making and people that are trying to stir up,” she said.

The BBC reported later in 2015 that residents of the “now famous block” had been relocated.

But, the article says, “some residents told the BBC they had moved back because the work has taken so long, and they are resorting to using ladders to get into their homes.” - Taryn Willows (11/06/2019)


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