‘Municipal contractors removed sign’
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.