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Monday Sep 11, 2017

Guptas have 30 days to amend Saxonwold structure

The Gupta family has under 30 days to submit amended or deviated building plans for illegal building extensions at their compound or get ready to watch them demolished.

This comes after it emerged that the City of Johannesburg upheld an appeal by residents who have waged battle against the Guptas over the illegal alterations for years.

A view of the Gupta's Saxonwold property.

In the city's communication on August 29, it tells affected parties that the appeal was considered by MMC for development planning Funzela Ngobeni on August 22.

"The following decision was adopted: that the appeal be upheld, that the owner of the remainder of erf 297 Saxonwold be directed to submit amended/deviation building plans to the City as per regulation A25 of the National Building Regulations within 30 days from receipt of this notification that reflect a building which is in accordance with the 40% coverage applicable to the said erf.

"The plans envisaged above shall also show how the second and third storey balconies will be screened off therefore limiting any overlooking into portion one of erf 297 Saxonwold."

On July 27 last year, the city's planning tribunal committee approved a rezoning application by the Gupta family to obtain approval for the illegal building they had constructed at their Saxonwold property in 2010.

The same application was rejected in 2013 by city authorities. In October last year, the affected owners and local residents applied to the council to appeal the decision. Then new Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba had promised to review and investigate the circumstances surrounding the approval.

Tony Taverna Turisan, the director of legal services in the mayor's office, said: "Since entering office, mayor Mashaba has remained resolute in ensuring that the rule of law is brought back in the City of Joburg.

"Ordinary residents of our City can rest assured that under Mashaba's leadership, everyone will be treated fairly and equally, irrespective of any perceived political connections.

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that by-laws in the City of Joburg are respected and upheld."

The Guptas had previously come under fire from their neighbours over the illegal alterations, including the fact that the size of the building footprint on 7 Saxonwold Drive was 170m² more than that allowed by the scheme.

Other violations included height restrictions, contraventions of the Architects Act, and the number of dwelling units per site.

Some residents demanded compensation for the "loss of value, privacy and amenity" to their homes and lifestyles, complaining they were no longer able to enjoy their pools and gardens owing to the "triple-storey monstrosity".

Tessa Turvey, of the Saxonwold and Parkwood Residents Association, said: "We're obviously very pleased but the proof is in the pudding. We've been so sceptical, particularly with all the events (surrounding the Gupta family) unfolding in the country. We're very pleased the City ruled in this way. For the first time, we're seeing progress and clear leadership coming through."

Gary Naidoo, spokesman for the Gupta family, did not respond to the Saturday Star, The Pretoria News Weekend's sister paper, but has previously stated that all building regulations were complied with when the dwelling was completed.

Saturday Star

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