Offending tree must fall

2019-01-31 06:21
Sisipho Jantjies is at her wit’s end and has unsuccessfully called for this tree, which is growing in an informal home structure on her property, to be removed. PHOTO: Velani Ludidi

Sisipho Jantjies is at her wit’s end and has unsuccessfully called for this tree, which is growing in an informal home structure on her property, to be removed. PHOTO: Velani Ludidi

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A Lwandle family’s years-long attempts to have a fully grown tree removed from their home has proven futile.

Sisipho Jantjies and her late parents tried to have the tree removed from an informal structure in her backyard in Desert for several years, but were unable to have it uprooted and removed.

The structure is home to the 23-year-old’s brother.

She claims the tree’s branches are fast becoming a problem, as its rapid growth is causing the walls to crack.

“I have received complaints from my neighbours as well, who have asked me to cut down the tree because they are afraid it may collapse their houses one day,” Jantjies said.

She further explained that both her parents tried their best to have the tree removed until their deaths in 2014, but they had no luck.

“They went to the municipality to ask for assistance, but they could not assist my parents,” Jantjies said, adding that the home was built with the tree growing on the inside.

“Now I am also trying to get any assistance from the City. This has become a generational fight. My brother needed a place to stay, so we built this shack for him to live in.”

The branches of the large tree can be seen close to neighbouring houses. Neighbour Nompilo Sibozo said the tree must be removed soon. “It is becoming a problem, because it is causing cracks in the walls and is growing fast,” she said.

“It is costly to repair cracks; the municipality [allegedly] removes trees for free in the suburbs, so why can’t they do it here?”

But according to Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee member for Community Services and Health, it is not council’s responsibility to cut trees on private property down. It can, however, assistance homeowners with guidance on how it could be done.

“Unfortunately the tree is located on private property and the City’s Tree Management Policy stipulates that pruning or removal of the trees on private property or state-owned land is not the responsibility of the City,” he explained, adding that council’s Recreation and Parks Department would make its staff available to give guidance to the complainant on how to go about the removal of the tree.

“However, arrangements for removal of the tree and its associated costs are at the resident or landowner’s personal expense.”

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