Action on dereliction

2020-02-03 15:17
Msunduzi business licensing manager Mandla Sithole outside a dilpadidated building, on the corner of Boom and West streets, where the team found several contraventions, including theft of water.

Msunduzi business licensing manager Mandla Sithole outside a dilpadidated building, on the corner of Boom and West streets, where the team found several contraventions, including theft of water.

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The City has started profiling derelict and “problematic” buildings as it prepares to ask the high court to have some of them eventually demolished and illegal businesses closed down.

Officials surveyed parts of the CBD on Thursday and Friday and compiled a list of the buildings that are not only a health hazard but have also contributed to grime and urban decay.

The group included officials from several departments including security, business licensing and environmental health.

Last week’s inspection on Boom and Pietermaritz streets, as well as the surrounding areas, revealed the extent of non-compliance as the officials found properties that were dilapidated, lacked maintenance, were overcrowded, had illegal connections and illegal business operations. Some of the buildings had extensions done without submitting plans to the municipality.

One of the houses that Msunduzi’s inspection team visited is said to have been ‘under renovation’ since 2017. 

Some of the occupants of the buildings were hostile, while others hid inside the buildings during the inspection of their properties.

General manager for community services, Mbongeni Mathe, said these bad buildings were contributing to the City’s inability to generate revenue and derive maximum economic benefits due to the decline in property rates, illegal connections, and the relocation of businesses away from the City.

Msunduzi is planning to approach the high court as it has reportedly exhausted all other avenues of getting the property owners to abide by the City’s by-laws and also look after their properties. In the past it took the matters to the magistrate’s court but this did not deter the property owners from further contraventions as they were only made to pay fines of about R2 000. The aim now is to get a blanket court order for the problematic buildings to be demolished and illegal businesses closed down.

Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said this was the first leg of the crackdown on contravention of the Msunduzi’s bylaws.

He said he was aware that the majority of the people who lived in the affected areas were foreign nationals, but the campaign was not targeting them.

Thebolla said this was part of the ongoing clean-up campaign that was launched in October with the aim of rejuvenating Msunduzi.

Illegal dumping is a common occurrence in the backyards of some of the derelict buildings on Boom Street.

“This will also deal directly with the problem of the theft of municipal services, which is something that has been constantly raised by some of the councillors as it is a major concern,” he said.

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola welcomed the operation saying they would also support it.

“I must say that it’s long overdue … I’m also glad it’s not just targeted to one area but we will see it spread to other parts of the city. One has observed a number of violations of Msunduzi’s by-laws such as town planning, so it’s good that the municipality is now taking action,” he said.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality
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