Charges dropped, but soccer academy woes not over
CHARGES against the African Brothers Football Academy, accused of contravening zoning regulations with its project which trains and coaches budding footballers at Gardens Commercial High School, have been withdrawn.
The academy, which has pitches and changerooms on what used to be a derelict prop- erty had been charged with operating in contravention of the zoning regulations.
In addition to complaints from neighbours about noise, the facility also became the subject of civil litigation in the Western Cape High Court when the City of Cape Town applied for an interdict to halt its operations.
Academy director Craig Hepburn was also served with a summons in March, which required him to appear in the municipal court at the City Hall in Cape Town.
In that case, the city alleged the academy, represented by Hepburn, had operated the facility on the Breda Street property in contravention of sections of the Land Use Planning Ordinance, without approval, since March 16 last year.
The property is zoned gen- eral residential.
The academy countered that the charge sheet was defective, and failed to comply with the Criminal Procedure Act.
Hepburn made several appearances before the case was set down for trial on November 7.
Benjamin King, for the academy, told Weekend Argus this week , on the date the trial was supposed to proceed, the municipal prosecutor elected not to proceed with the argument related to the objection to the charge sheet. The charges were formally withdrawn.
King pointed out the withdrawal of the charges did not prevent the city from taking the case back to court in the future.
The academy’s woes are, however, not quite over.
The city’s interdict proceedings were postponed pending the outcome of an application the academy lodged to have the property rezoned. If it is unsuccessful, the interdict application could proceed, throwing up yet another hurdle to the academy’s operations.
Media manager for the city Priya Reddy said: “With a civil matter of this nature, there is no formal withdrawal. The city has, however, decided not to take further action.”