Building laws ignored

2012-10-19 00:00

A LOCAL business has received what the DA says is a slap on the wrist from the Msunduzi Municipality for “illegal” extensions to a building.

The executive committee (Exco) heard yesterday that Moosas Discount Warehouse in Manchester Road had not indicated in its building plans that extensions would feature awnings which would encroach over the pavement. When these were noted, municipal officials had recommended that the awnings be left in place and that Moosas be fined R307,80 per year that the structures stay up. To facilitate this, the business would enter into an encroachment agreement with the municipality.

The acting town planner, Mark Povall, said they had thoroughly assessed the structure and felt that it added value to the environment.

DA councillor Mergan Chetty said the fine was a slap on the wrist, and this was why businesses throughout the city continued to violate town planning regulations.

Chetty said the awnings should be removed as correct procedure was not followed.

“It is frustrating that businesses are erecting illegal structures and, even worse, they are starting building without their plans first being approved by the municipality. For this they are being fined a measly R2 500,” he said.

Chetty added that he had received complaints from homeowners who felt unfairly targeted. They would be forced by the municipality to demolish household structures for the slightest transgressions, whereas big business merely had to pay a fine.

“I believe council needs to enforce its bylaws in a fair and equal manner across the board,” he said.

Chetty said this unequal treatment led to perceptions that there was collaboration between officials and transgressors.

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said they had fined Moosas according to the KwaZulu-Natal Ordinance Act, adding that they needed to look at ways to tighten their bylaws.

Nkosi said anyone with proof of collaboration between municipal officials and transgressors should report this to the municipality for investigation.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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