SABC could fall foul of slumlord bylaw
THE PUBLIC broadcaster will be among the slumlords targeted by the City of Cape Town under a new draft bylaw which aims to sort out problem buildings.
The SABC owns Rocklands Villas in Sea Point, a row of 12 flats behind the SABC building which has stood empty for years and is now in a state of disrepair and home to drug dealers and criminals.
The mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, yesterday delivered a copy of the bylaw to the SABC, which has consistently thumbed its nose at neighbours, whose complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
Last year Nomfundo Mpuntsha, regional general manager of the SABC, told Weekend Argus it intended selling the flats as soon as they had been renovated.
A tender was being put together and would soon be advertised, she said. There has been no sign of this.
Smith said the bylaw gave “serious teeth” to the city for the first time for dealing with problem buildings.
Once it is gazetted, probably early next year, slumlords could find themselves behind bars or facing fines of R20 000 or more if they fail to clean up their buildings.
Another notorious building which will come under the spotlight is Senator Park in Long Street, where University of Cape Town student Jeffrey Webster was held hostage earlier this year.
The difficulty is that of the 168 unit owners, only 23 live in the run-down building, which has been red-lined by banks.
This means banks will no longer offer mortgage bonds for apartments in the block.
But under the bylaw, in a situation where the owner is not available or missing, the tenant can be held liable.
The bylaw states that the definition of the owner of a property has been expanded to include “anyone who derives any benefit from the building which includes people occupying the building with or without the owner’s consent”.
Smith said the bylaw aimed to enforce responsible property ownership.
The draft bylaw not only makes provision for a building to be declared a problem building but gives the council the power to fix it up on the owners’ behalf and charge them for it.
Capetonians have until December 7 to comment on the draft bylaw.
EYESORE: Sea Point’s Rocklands Villas is home to drug dealers and criminals .