‘Illegal’ building outcry

Msunduzi Municipality has confirmed that the construction taking place in Dartnell Road does not have approved plans. It has escalated the matter to its legal department. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane
Msunduzi Municipality has confirmed that the construction taking place in Dartnell Road does not have approved plans. It has escalated the matter to its legal department. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

Residents of Mountain Rise are complaining about an allegedly illegal construction taking place in Dartnell Road.

Their attorney, Farouk Jasat, has written to the municipality highlighting their concerns. He said that the construction is “major” and appears to be going on without approved plans and environmental impact assessments. Jasat said it is also taking place without any consideration for the infrastructure.

The impact of road usage and heavy trucks and parking has also not been taken into account.

He said that the construction would reduce the value of homes in the area and in turn rates, which would affect the city’s rates base as a whole.

He said that a notice board indicating that construction is taking place is required if the construction is legal. Since there is none, it suggests that it is being done in “secret”. Jasat said the property owner is taking advantage of the pandemic and is hoping that no one will pay attention to the breach of municipal planning and building by-laws.

He is also requesting that the municipality provide him with information regarding the property’s zoning, confirmation of compliance with the environmental impact assessments, when it was advertised and whether or not a traffic impact assessment was taken into account. Jasat said the city had become a haven for unlawful building activities.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said that the building works on site are illegal until the owner/developer has an approved plan from the local authority.

She added that the owner had been advised to stop all works on site and issued with a summons and fined R5 000.

This matter has now been escalated to the municipality’s legal department and a file has been sent to it suggesting that an interdict be obtained.

Mafumbatha added that if the owner/developer continues work after being summonsed and if any new contraventions are noted, summons can be issued for the new contravention.

The owner, Rashid Jooma Essa, said he is not doing anything wrong or illegal. He said the area is zoned industrial. He queried about getting it rezoned to residential but was told it would take years for that to happen.

“It’s industrial so what am I expected to build on it?”

He said those making a fuss are doing so because they “missed out” on the land.

Essa said he submitted building plans to the municipality early this year for approval. The City’s town planning department gave it the go-ahead. He is just waiting for final approval and does not anticipate any problems.

He said that he is not putting up walls, he is just doing the “base” work until the plans are approved. He is not doing anything which would require removal later at his own cost.

He questioned why the residents are complaining when they bought property close to industrial land which is surrounded by factories.

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