‘Mu­nic­i­pal con­trac­tors re­moved sign’

Daily News - - NEWS - BAR­BARA COLE

WHEN quad­ri­plegic Sandy Wheeler or­dered a spe­cial sign to go up out­side his shop, he was told it would last seven years.

But it only lasted two weeks, dis­ap­pear­ing af­ter be­ing taken down with a chain­saw and re­moved, al­legedly by mu­nic­i­pal con­trac­tors.

“I’m open seven days a week and they came two hours af­ter I closed on a Sun­day.”

Now, Wheeler – who spent R8 000 for the 2.4m x 1.22m sign on top of treated gumpoles “to make it as nat­u­ral as pos­si­ble” – wants his ex­pen­sive sign back.

Wheeler has a surf and sec­ond-hand goods shop in the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast town of eMkhomazi. He has adopted the area out­side his busi­ness, spruc­ing it up, keep­ing it clean and plant­ing cy­cads to beau­tify the area.

He de­cided he needed a pro­mo­tional sign and said that he re­peat­edly tele­phoned the eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity to find out what the pro­ce­dure was, ask­ing to be con­nected to the cor­rect depart­ment.

“The tele­phone just rang. No one ever picked up. There was no one to ex­plain the process to me.”

In the mean­time, his sign was be­ing made.

“A wit­ness told me that a yel­low bakkie with a red light on top, ar­rived. Men got out and cut my sign down with a chain­saw. If the mu­nic­i­pal­ity wanted me to take the sign down, surely they should have given me some sort of no­tice.”

Tozi Mthethwa, mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son, said that any­one who wanted to put a sign up on a prop­erty in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity bound­aries must sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Once ap­proval is granted, the ap­pli­cant will be given six months to in­stall the sign. Signs on mu­nic­i­pal prop­erty are given spe­cific con­sent and no one may in­stall a sign with­out this con­sent.”

Any sign erected with­out con­sent would be re­moved, she said.

“No­tices of re­moval are sent by post to the own­ers of the signs prior to re­moval. The com­plainant has to check his mail for his no­tice,” she said.

“The rel­e­vant unit will also in­ves­ti­gate if the sign was in­deed re­moved by a city con­trac­tor.”

Wheeler said yes­ter­day he had never re­ceived a no­tice.

“The men went from my shop down to the beach, where they also re­moved other signs.

“And the city has not an­swered the ques­tion about where my sign is now.

“It is prob­a­bly dam­aged and I want it back. Have they got the le­gal right to keep it?”

Sandy Wheeler spent R8 000 on this sign, which was taken down with a chain­saw.

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