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Thursday Feb 21, 2013

Residents tackle panel beater

Residents of Marina da Gama in Muizenberg have been at loggerheads with the City of Cape Town over its "tardiness" in closing down an informal panel beating business in a residential street.

"Up until March the business was fairly quiet and wasn't bothering us too much, said Mark Hendricks, who lives next to the business in Heron Road.

"But then all of a sudden there was a big influx of customers and cars, and the panel beating, music and noise went on late into the night. Even on Christmas and New Year's Day."

Hendricks complained of oil spills, high-revving engines around the clock, car parts lying on the pavement and rows of customers' cars blocking the street.

Another neighbour, Manny de Abreu, told the Cape Argus of the ridicule he experienced when he asked the panel beaters to keep it down.

"They called me an 'old man' and turned the volume of the music louder instead of turning it down," he said.

Some weeks ago De Abreu set up a residents' committee to engage with the city's law enforcement unit and council to see the business shut.

But Ryan Klein, who owns the business, said it was was the only income for his family.

Councillor Garreth Bloor, mayoral committee member for economic, environmental and spatial planning, said the city had been aware of the business since July, when they received a land use complaint.

"The business was unauthorised. As per the Land Use Planning Ordinance, a notice 'instruction to cease' was issued and when this was not adhered to the responsible person was summoned to appear in court.

"The city's first response is to always assist a resident or applicant with a means of compliance, before following the law as is required.

"This case, however, was difficult due to the noise that emanated from the business," Bloor said.

He added that the owner of the business had failed to respond to a court summons and was subsequently arrested.

Klein says that he has received dozens of fines from law enforcement - the largest of which was R10 000, he claimed.

"It's true that I haven't paid these, and that I was arrested for not responding to the court order.

"Simply put, I don't have the money and actually never received the notification that I was supposed to appear in court," he said.

"I'm so upset, because law enforcement is checking up on me every day so now I can't work.

"I have many customers lined up, and I'm in the process of losing all of that business.

"I don't know what we're going to do - I'm looking for a workshop space elsewhere," he said.

Klein is due to appear in court again in a week's time.

He has shut his business until the court proceedings have been completed.

Cape Argus

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