Removals are not all bad

2013-12-01 14:00

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Joyce Ozynski


Dewald van Rensburg’s article on the problem properties draft bill (“Brave new Joburg, City Press, November 24) was dominated by the issue of the treatment of street traders by the council.

Seri, the quoted NGO, is currently preoccupied with the cruel removal of street traders and so the purpose of the bill was somehow overshadowed.

The draft bill states that the by-law is intended “to identify, control and manage dilapidated and problem properties”.

Street traders may be affected by one of the provisions, but the recent removal of street traders from undesignated areas was carried out under an already existing set of by-laws.

The focus is on the rehabilitation of thug-ridden and mismanaged buildings that would, if properly controlled, provide decent housing for many law-abiding people.

During a recently held public hearing meeting which was very well attended, there was plenty of time for discussion.

There were also revelations of experiences of people who have faced the problems of living in hijacked buildings, next to abandoned properties heaped with rubbish, or being exploited by slumlords and managing agents.

The labour of thousands of workers over 100 years has now gone into the building of the inner city.

It is a valuable heritage and therefore the needs of building invaders cannot be privileged over a healthy urban environment.

The Joburg council is faced with a very difficult task – akin to the management of the taxi industry – therefore the implementation of the bill will be exceedingly difficult.

Suggestions and questions can be forwarded until December 11. It is still only a draft bill.

Along with the two acts designed to assist management of sectional title buildings recently introduced by the previous minister of human settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, it is possible that the much needed building stock will not be lost to our city.

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