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Wednesday Dec 11, 2013

Durban builders taken to task

Defiant builders accused of ignoring the law and notices to stop work are increasingly being taken to task in applications brought before the Durban High Court.

Two unrelated matters came before Judge Graham Lopes yesterday, both involving the 'illegal' construction of dwellings.

In the first, the Nongoma Municipality is seeking an order to jail an illegal developer and demolish the illegal structures he has built.

In the second, the National Homebuilders' Registration Council secured an interdict against a builder constructing a private home at Park Rynie, on the South Coast, without having registered it with the council.

Illegal buildings have been in the spotlight since the death of two people in the partial collapse of the Tongaat mall being developed by a company linked to controversial businessman Jay Singh.

The Nongoma Municipality obtained an interim order giving Dumisani Nzuza until early next year to come to court to explain why he ignored previous court orders against him and why he should not be held in contempt of court and sent to jail.

Municipal manager Bonginkosi Ntanzi said in an affidavit that the municipality had obtained an interim order in July directing that Nzuza demolish all the buildings and structures he had built without authority within 30 days and interdicting him from occupying the buildings or permitting anyone else to occupy them.

The order was made final at the end of the same month. But Ntanzi said Nzuza ignored the order and construction continued - the walls went up and the roofs were put on.

'It is clear that he will not comply with the orders unless a mechanism is put in place for executing them,' Ntanzi said.

Apart from putting Nzuza in jail, he also seeks a final order authorising the sheriff to demolish the buildings.

The matter will be back in court on January 21.

In the papers before the court in the South Coast matter, inspector Professor Ngwane claims that when he approached Thoolsipersad Dhanraj, of Revron Construction, at the property in 1st Street, he offered him R200 to not issue the stop-work notice.

Ngwane reported this to the police and issued the notice the same day.

The council's manager of legal compliance and enforcement, Julia Matopola, said in her affidavit that builders registered with the council had to register any construction job to ensure a certain standard.

She said Dhanraj had alleged that he was not building the house but just supervising, part-time.

She said, given that he was on the property at the time of the inspection and that he had attempted to 'bribe' the inspector, this should be disregarded.

Dhanraj has until January 10 to oppose the order's being made final.

The Mercury


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