Res­i­dents red-flag ‘land grab’

Grocott's Mail - - NEWS - By SUE MACLEN­NAN

A storm has been brew­ing in Sun­ny­side over a res­i­dent who has ef­fec­tively ex­tended his prop­erty by build­ing a high mesh fence that bi­sects the side­walk above his house and en­closes sewage, stormwa­ter, elec­tric­ity and tele­phone in­fra­struc­ture. There is a pad­locked ac­cess gate, but it’s not clear who be­sides the owner has the key.

While res­i­dents say the fence at the south end of Hill Street is a haz­ard and have asked how the mu­nic­i­pal­ity can con­done it, the owner claims he was given per­mis­sion.

Out­rage on so­cial me­dia this week saw one res­i­dent post­ing, “What has hap­pened to my street … there are no pave­ments any­more and ev­ery­one walks in the road… now there is this new fence that is steal­ing land from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and also takes away the pave­ment for safety. This is prob­lem­atic and the owner must ac­count for this. It is dan­ger­ous!!!”

An­other replied, “A num­ber of us res­i­dents in the area are con­cerned about the haz­ard this seem­ingly il­le­gal fence poses to pedes­tri­ans and road users alike.” Gro­cott’s Mail ob­served that the area is busy in the early morn­ing and late af­ter­noon, when par­ents fetch their chil­dren from a nearby crèche. Pedes­tri­ans walked in the road along­side the fence.

Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity yes­ter­day con­firmed they had re­ceived a num­ber of com­plaints and queries.

Spokesper­son Yoliswa Ramokolo said mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials had been to the premises to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion and had de­liv­ered a let­ter of de­mand to re­move the fence, in prepa­ra­tion for an in­ter­dict. The owner, how­ever, had shown them a let­ter pur­port­edly signed by a se­nior of­fi­cial, whom he claimed had given per­mis­sion for the en­croach­ment. The of­fi­cial, whose iden­tity is known to Gro­cott’s Mail, was not cur­rently avail­able to ver­ify the claim.

Ramokolo said a writ­ten ap­pli­ca­tion is re­quired to en­croach on pub­lic land. This is sent for com­ment to var­i­ous man­agers in­clud­ing these in charge of traf­fic, stormwa­ter and roads and elec­tric­ity. After com­ments from all these de­part­ments it should also go to the Aes­thetic Com­mit­tee, then the May­oral Com­mit­tee be­fore go­ing to full Coun­cil for ap­proval. It was not clear whether this had been done.

“We are fol­low­ing up on this mat­ter and will in­form the pub­lic once the town plan­ner, build­ing in­spec­tor and le­gal man­ager have met with the new mu­nic­i­pal man­ager,” Ramokolo said.

Gro­cott’s Mail’s in­vi­ta­tions to com­ment by email and so­cial me­dia were not re­sponded to by the prop­erty owner.

What has hap­pened to my street ... there are no pave­ments any­more and ev­ery­one walks in the road.

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