Entrepreneur’s business in dust

2016-09-06 06:00
The Advanced Fitment Centre located along Klip Road was demolished two weeks ago. A man lost three of his fingers during the demolition.  PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

The Advanced Fitment Centre located along Klip Road was demolished two weeks ago. A man lost three of his fingers during the demolition. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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His first business went down brick by brick and all he could do while it all came crashing down was to scurry to have his machines removed.

Entrepreneur and business owner Azim Khan says he cannot believe his livelihood has been taken away from him after the building housing his business was demolished on Friday 26 August.

Azim is the owner of the Advance Fitment Centre found along Klip Road – a place left in ruins after a demolition order was served on the property.

“I have no idea why the landlord would do this. This was my first business and to see it come down like that was really heartbreaking,” Khan says.

Azim explains he signed a ten-year lease, for the property where his business was run from, two years ago.

“The landlord wanted to evict me earlier this year. The matter went to court but it was then thrown out because the contract was legally binding. Since then he has tried to condemn the building. According to paperwork he claims he has, an inspector came to the building and deemed it unsafe for occupation,” Azim says.

“I don’t understand how this could be done if the building inspector never came to the building. It was never done in my presence and I never got a notification.”

On the day when the building was demolished, Azim explains two clients cars were still on the car lifts.

“Luckily there was no damage to the cars but the demolition team that came to do it started in the roof and while we hurried to have my machinery and equipment moved, bricks started falling. An unfortunate incident occurred when one of my machines then also feel on a guy’s hand. The man tried to help me move my things from the building but then he lost three of his fingers while trying to help me,” he says.

Added to his “headache”, Azim says he has four people employed at his business.

“These men are the breadwinners of their families and now they are without jobs. It is really a sad state. If this wasn’t bad enough, while people helped me move my goods from my business to another location, some of my equipment was stolen. There’s nothing I can do about it now because in that moment I was desperate to get my goods off the premises,” he says.

Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning Johan van der Merwe says the City of Cape Town’s Planning and Building Development Management (PBDM) Department has served two notices for this property and is currently investigating the matter related to the demolition. “Following a complaint, the department conducted a site inspection on Tuesday 19 July and served a notice for unauthorised building work on site and another notice requesting the property owner to submit building plans within 60 days. The notice required the owner to appoint a structural engineer to determine the safety of the unauthorised building work,” Van der Merwe explains.

On Thursday 28 July the owner of the property went to the local planning district office to “discuss the notices and he indicated that it would be more cost effective to demolish the unauthorised work than to legalise it”, he says.

“The owner was advised that a demolition application must be submitted and a demolition permit must be issued before any work in this regard can commence. No demolition application was submitted to the City’s PBDM department for this property. The department is currently investigating this matter,” Van der Merwe says.

Van der Merwe explains the general process for demolition includes filling out a demolition application form and submitting it together with Waste Management documentation. “(Further documentation includes) a site plan showing the structures to be demolished, and four photos taken from the four sides of the building. The scrutiny fee of R738 is payable on submission of the application, which will be circulated and approved should the application comply with applicable legislation,” he says.

The City has the right to decline the application even if the demolition has already taken place and the matter would then be handed over to the legal services department for further action.

Owner of the building Maksood Khan says he does have a demolition certificate.

“The building was an illegal structure built four years ago and it had to go because it was illegal. I have the demolition certificate with me which was signed and stamped by the municipality and whoever says that I was not issued with a certificate does not have their ducks in a row,” Maksood says.

He supplied People’s Post with a copy of a document issued by the Solid Waste Department yesterday (Monday) afternoon.

However, late yesterday afternoon Van der Merwe said: “The (supplied document) is related to compliance by the Solid Waste Management Department in terms of how the building debris should be dealt with. The City’s PBDM still requires the submission of a demolition application. This was communicated to the property owner on Thursday 28 July.”

By time of going to print Khan could not be reached for further comment.

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