AFT 'proactive' in finding judge for probe into 'dubious town planning'

2017-09-08 13:41
eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede (Netwerk24)

eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede (Netwerk24)

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Durban – Advocates for Transformation (AFT) in KwaZulu-Natal – which recently called for a commission of inquiry into "dubious town planning developments" in Durban - has gone one step further and found a retired judge who is willing to head up the proposed probe.

In a letter sent by AFT to Mayor Zandile Gumede and all members of the executive committee, chairperson Rajesh Choudree says Judge Thumba Pillay has indicated "he is prepared to serve and will do his utmost to bring to the fore any corruption or dishonesty that exists in town planning matters".

He has attached a copy of the resolution "which speaks for itself" and says AFT has been proactive in approaching Judge Pillay.

ALSO READ: Advocates want inquiry into 'illegal, dubious developments' in Durban

"We would be greatly indebted to you if you set in motion the machinery necessary for the appointment of the commission of inquiry as contemplated in the resolution," Choudree said.

Approached for comment, the mayor's spokesperson Mthunzi Gumede said he could not comment specifically on the matter because he had no knowledge of the letter.

"But we always welcome suggestions… we are open to them and we have channels to deal with them.

"The suggestion will be entertained," he said.

Proliferation of 'dubious developments'

The AFT resolution, which was proposed by Choudree, SC, and seconded by Advocate Griffiths Madonsela, SC, noted the proliferation of "dubious developments" and the overpowering nature of them.

"There has been an abdication of generally accepted town planning principles... and there is a lack of financial and legal support to assist activist organisations challenging this," they said.

"We also call on civil society to vociferously express our opposition, for lawyers to provide their services pro-bono and the municipality to warn developers that they face criminal action if they proceed with these unauthorised and dubious developments."

In recent months, civic action group Save Our Berea has highlighted several instances of what it alleges are illegal developments taking place around the city, with the city seemingly standing back and taking no action.

Presently pending before the Constitutional Court is an application for leave to appeal by neighbours of an almost-completed, eight-storey R61m apartment development in Currie Road.

During the application, the city conceded that not all neighbours have been properly and legally notified of the re-zoning of the site, which allowed the developers to build the high-rise "boundary to boundary" building.

KwaZulu-Natal in Durban High Court Judge Esther Steyn ruled that the building should be partially demolished to comply with the original zoning of the site.

However, the Supreme Court of Appeal overruled her decision. The neighbours are now seeking intervention from the Constitutional Court.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime  |  property

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