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Friday Oct 05, 2012

Illegal properties turning Bez Valley, Bertrams into shanty towns

The unabated illegal construction of additional rental rooms on to properties in the Bez Valley, Bertrams and Kensington areas is turning these suburbs into shanty towns.

The illegal construction of additional rooms at a Kitchener Avenue, Kensington, property is infuriating the ward councillor.

So says ward councillor Carlos da Rochas, who is tearing his hair out at the illegal building and illegal business operating all over his ward, and the city's apparent inability to constrain it.

"I need a clear idea on how to deal with illegal land use, illegal buildings, shacks and rooms that are being built all over my ward unchecked.

"I understand that it is a problem to evict people [from] illegal buildings, but my argument is: Why don't we enforce the stoppage of any building or structure as they are getting built, before occupation takes place?" he asks.

He wondered what could prevent someone from stopping the building process, and enforcing it, once the builder had been ordered to stop - instead of waiting 30 days after notice was given.

"I would like to know how can we stop Joburg from becoming a shanty town, by preventing, rather than curing, this sickness," he said.

Da Rochas said he would like the city to take a stand in a few of the cases to set a Kensington there is a house on two stands, zoned residential 1, which means only one dwelling is allowed.

"Why then is this person building three or four houses on this stand? This is one of hundreds of cases in my area.

"People build rooms and shacks with no permission and are ruining the suburbs," he said.

The city said a notice had been issued to the owner of the Kensington stand to stop the illegal construction, which he ignored.

City spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said the matter had been forwarded to being an urgent court interdict to stop the construction.

In general, all matters that are brought to the city's attention of illegal building construction or illegal land use are investigated and appropriate action is taken, but the legal process takes a bit of time.

"Furthermore, the executive mayor Parks Tau has given special attention to general law enforcement challenges in the city, hence the launch of a new, visible and dedicated team to attend to bylaw enforcement. In addition, education campaigns to explain by-laws and regulations are to be rolled out throughout the city," he said

The Star

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