Digs group officially set up to work for better control

2014-04-08 00:00

THE battle against the mushrooming of illegal boarding houses in the Scottsville area took a step forward this weekend with the establishment of the Boarding Establishment Action Group (BEAG.)

The Witness had reported that an informal network of over 70 residents in the Scottsville area, known as the Digs Action Group, were to constitute themselves into a formal body. The aim was to challenge the Msunduzi Municipality, legally if necessary, for not enforcing its own by-laws and regulations with regards to boarding houses.

The organisation was formed at a meeting on Saturday where it was decided that BEAG’s membership and activities will be limited to the suburbs of Scottsville, Pelham, Epworth and Wensleydale.

Meeting convenor Marcus Burnett told the gathering that their main aim was to bring some regulation to the subject of student housing, as it pertains to boarding houses in the area and was provided for in the town planning scheme and the Planning and Development Act.

“We want the burden for the provision of, or planning for, adequate and secure student accommodation to be placed where it belongs — with the local authority and the educational institutions concerned,” Burnett said.

He added that they wanted to engage with these bodies to reduce the demand for irregular boarding houses by eventually replacing them with purpose-built housing for students.

“This is in line with the strategy announced by the deputy municipal manager for economic development, Dr Ray Ngcobo, to close down the space for irregular operators,” said Burnett.

An issue discussed at length at the meeting was a call for the development of a new policy around the approval of special consent applications for boarding houses.

The policy must address such issues as the concentration of their numbers, the conditions for such approval and the provisions of mechanisms for dispute resolution.

The meeting also resolved that they would prefer to work in partnership with the municipality and the educational institutions to find a solution where everyone can live in harmony and the interests of both the students and homeowners can be served.

However, if the mushrooming of illegal boarding houses continues in an unregulated manner, they will seek legal action if necessary against either the local authority or individual boarding house operators.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.