Ashburton eyesore: Truck centre owner agrees to court order to close down

2011-08-06 00:00

AT the eleventh hour yesterday the owner of the controversial United Truck Centre at Ashburton, Ayoob Moosa, caved in to legal pressure from Msunduzi municipality and consented to a high court order directing him effectively to close down the operation by October 31.

Moosa and the trucking company were further ordered to pay costs.

In terms of the court order granted in chambers by Judge Achmat Jappie, Moosa has been ordered to demolish and remove all illegal structures on the property, both temporary and permanent, including fuel pumps and tanks by October 31.

He has also been directed to remove all motor vehicles and heavy machinery or parts thereof — other than private vehicles used by the occupants of a house on the property — by the same date.

If he does not comply the sheriff is authorised to ensure the order is carried out. Attorney Richard Lister, who acted for the municipality along with advocate Mike Southwood,SC, said if Moosa fails to comply with the court order by October 31, the sheriff will be instructed to move in to close down the operation.

If that were to happen Moosa would be liable for the further costs incurred, he added.

An Ashburton resident who asked not to be named said the news will be greeted with utmost delight by members of the local community who have been at their wits end over Moosa’s defiant attitude. The court order ends a four-and-a-half year battle to close down the truck yard which is an “eyesore” in the middle of a quiet residential area, and which has been blamed for severely devaluing surrounding properties.

The truck yard, which is visible from the N3 highway, has grown bigger and bigger despite the complaints of local residents, many petitions and in defiance of an instruction by Msunduzi municipality to Moosa last year to cease operating and dismantle the existing structures which were erected without permission. The municipality declined to rezone the site to enable it to be used as a truck yard, after receiving more than 130 objections in response to the application.

Moosa had indicated his intention to oppose yesterday’s high court application brought against him by Msunduzi municipality but after only a brief appearance in court the case stood down for negotiations which led to the court order being granted.

Ashburton Ward Councillor Sandy Lyne of the DA welcomed the judgment, which she said took due cognisance of the concerns of many residents in the area and has renewed the public’s faith in the justice system. “This has been a long difficult and costly battle for the Msunduzi Municipality which has produced the desired results,” she added.

It was alleged in court papers filed on behalf of Msunduzi municipality that Moosa and the United Truck Centre PMB had “shamelessly” defied the National Building Regulations and Standards Act of 1977, the National Building Regulations; and the Ashburton Draft Town Planning Scheme.

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