Party on vacant lot

2013-11-06 00:00

AT FIRST, some residents of Town Bush were simply annoyed that a loud party was held on vacant land near their homes last weekend.

But they were later stunned to learn that it all happened by the book — and that the Msunduzi Municipality can rent out land owned by ratepayers for private parties and other events, for as little as R400.

On Saturday, Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe threw a large, traditional Zulu engagement party for his daughter.

He had chosen a piece of municipal land in Town Bush for the umembeso, large enough to accommodate a large number of guests and their cars.

Kirsten Hughes, who lives 100m from the vacant plot, said she had been disturbed by the noise of the revelry.

Hughes told The Witness: “As residents of the area we have a right to know what is going on. Tents were erected on the Friday and the event happened on the Saturday. It was very loud, I could hear the speeches that were given.”

Hughes also said she believed that animals were slaughtered as part of the celebrations, and that the party had not been sanctioned by any authority.

However, Bishop Ndwandwe told The Witness that he had secured full permission from the municipality to use the land for the event. The Anglican cleric said his wife had paid R400 to the Msunduzi Parks Department to make use of the land.

“We followed the rules,” said Ndwandwe. “We went to the municipality and asked for permission, we paid the required fee to use the land and we notified the local councillor. We also sent notes to the residents who lived close to the land so they would know what was going on.”

Ndwandwe said other residents — also unaware of the rental arrangement — had confronted security officials in a “nasty” manner.

“The security guard who was watching the tents the night before the event said that many people from the area came asking him what was going on. Some people were quite nasty about it.”

Hughes said others in her complex had also received no notice of the event.

She added: “A cow was sent to that area and by the time the SPCA got there is was too late.”

However, Alister Sinclair, manager of the Msunduzi SPCA, confirmed that no cow was slaughtered at the event. He said the cow Hughes had seen was unrelated to the function.

“Nothing was slaughtered at the event,” he said. “There was a sheep that decided that it didn’t want to be slaughtered and ran away, but it was retrieved.”

Brian Zuma, spokesperson of the Msunduzi Municipality said: “There are two sides when wanting to host events on municipal property. The one is municipal facilities, such as parks and buildings. If you want to use those, there are tariffs attached to it and the necessary paperwork must be filled out. If it’s just open land where there are no facilities, you have to seek permission and if the land is usable, tariffs are attached to that.”

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