Sidewalks now gardens

2015-04-30 16:53


RECENTLY a friend of mine was left R450 poorer after he had to pay a fine to the Matjhabeng Traffic Department to have his impounded vehicle released. His car was impounded after he had parked it on a sidewalk in front of a house that was turned into a business premises in the suburb of Doorn in Welkom.

He parked it there after he had experienced mechanical problems.

This was after he had tried unsucessfully to start up the engine. He did it in order not to cause disruption of the traffic flow or to inconvenience the owners of the business.

When he went to fetch the car the next day he discovered the car had been impounded by traffic officers. This apparently happened after a telephone call was made by an attorney of the business owner to the city council complaining about the car being parked on the well-kept lawn on the sidewalk adjacent to the business premises. The owner of the vehicle had to pay R450 to cover the cost of the towing service.

It so happens that property owners cultivate gardens on sidewalks which are rightly municipal land. The public are then prohibited from either walking or parking on the sidewalk.

In my opinion it cannot be legal for individuals to claim a public space as their own.

I believe that these cultivated pavements, patched with flowers and lawns, are in violation of the municipal bylaws.

The bylaws state that no person may garden on any public road or any sidewalk or pathway if this obstructs or interferes with pedestrian traffic.

Just as the Welkom lawyer complained that my friend’s car was parked on his space, people in Thabong are constantly reprimanded for walking on the pavements. It seems that some property owners are taking advantage of the people’s ignorance or lack of knowledge about bylaws.

Along Nkoane Road in Oppenheimer Park in Thabong, a construction company assigned by the municipality to construct a pavement was forced to narrow the street by 12 m because property owners on both sides of the street prevented them from paving in places where they had grown trees, flowers and lawns on the public road.

It is clear that it is property owners who are transgressing the bylaws by stealing the municipality’s land.

Interestingly, a multi-million rand shopping complex is currently under construction in the vicinity where the construction company was forced to cut short on paving the sidewalk.

Can the Matjhabeng Local Municipality kindly tell us whose land is it anyway?

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