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Wednesday Jan 02, 2013

President's third wife renovated Durban property without approval

President Jacob Zuma's third wife, Thobeka Madiba-Zuma, has been given 30 days to submit a building plan to the eThekwini Municipality after commissioning renovations to her R8.8 million Durban North home without planning approval from the local municipality.

Madiba-Zuma now faces rates penalties and might be forced to demolish illegal alterations to the house if her plans are not approved.

Two weeks ago, reports revealed that Madiba-Zuma's opulent hilltop home, bought from former Springbok rugby captain Gary Teichmann, was being expanded to accommodate Madiba-Zuma and her two children.

The property was bought by the Madiba Family Trust in March last year and was transferred in August. Weeks later, construction crews started extensive renovations.

Madiba-Zuma said renovations to the house had stalled to obtain planning approval because the structure was more than 60 years old.

eThekwini Municipality development planning deputy head Musa Mbhele said that renovations had started without the necessary planning approval and work halted at the site only after the building inspectorate served notices on Madiba-Zuma.

"The construction on site was identified as illegal by the building inspector. The owner has 30 days to submit a building plan for consideration," he said.

Mbhele said if Madiba-Zuma continued to flout by-laws the city would take legal action, which could involve a court order to demolish the illegally constructed portions of the house.

Durban North Ratepayers Association chairwoman Irene Reid said the house was an "eyesore" after the renovations stalled early this year.

Reid added that Zuma had flouted the municipal by-laws that governed additions to residential properties.

"People these days just do what they want. I wouldn't be surprised if the municipality is turning a blind eye to this just because she is one of the president's wives.

"Neighbours and those who are unhappy with how the house looks need to put pressure on Mrs Zuma and submit objections to the municipality until something is done about this," she said.

Madiba-Zuma could not be reached for comment.

Cape Argus

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