Charges dropped, but soc­cer acad­emy woes not over

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

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.”

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