Municipality demolition order ‘racist’

2010-03-30 00:00

UMNGENI Municipality has been accused of racial discrimination after it authorised the demolition of the home of one of the residents on Shayamoya farm in Howick, allegedly because it was not built according to the municipal town planning process.

The house belongs to Florence Zondi, who for the past several years has been embroiled in a land dispute with the owner of the land, farmer George Duncan Anderson.

The Witness previously reported that the uMngeni Municipality ordered Duncan Anderson to destroy the structure because it was built illegally; they gave him 21 days to remove it.

However, Anderson has been unable to demolish the structure because he is fearful of Zondi; the two have numerous cases against one another.

Zondi said the decision by the municipality to order the destruction of her property inside her own yard smacks of racism.

She said she believes the municipality was “hired” by Anderson, with whom she has had an acrimonious relationship since he moved into the area in the 1990s, to intimidate her.

“I moved into this area in 1979; the land I am living on is legally mine, and it was left to me by my previous employers.

“I believe that this is one of his ploys to intimidate me again, only this time, he is using the municipality.”

Zondi said that if the municipality is genuine about tackling houses that were built without approved plans, they should demolish all the houses in the area.

She challenged the municipality to destroy all the houses that were built without plans.

“I believe I have been unfairly targeted because I am black in an all-white area, because this is a farm and houses here are built without plans.”

Anderson rubbished the claim that he is colluding with the municipality to intimidate Zondi to move her off the land.

He said the land the Zondi family is living on is his legal property that he is still paying rates for.

“If that is truly their land, how come they are not paying rates on it?” he asked.

Steve Simpson of the uMngeni Municipality’s town planning section said the municipality is not targeting Zondi and added that it is protocol that every structure being built should be approved by the municipality.

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