News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 16th 2019

Cape Town cracks down on land use violations

Peter Luhanga

The City of Cape Town’s Land Use Enforcement Policy, adopted by the Planning and Environmental Portfolio Committee (Pepco) and enforced since the beginning of the year, has resulted in hundreds of businesses being closed down due to land use violations.

Planning and Building Development Management Director Cheryl Waters said while cracking down on zoning violations rested on a lengthy process involving the criminal courts, her department had nevertheless achieved notable success since the policy was implemented eight months ago.

Waters said over 500 cease-work notices had been served in the Cape Town Metropole, so far resulting in 286 unauthorised businesses having closed down.

She said out of 32 cases that had been through the courts, 29 guilty verdicts had been handed down and fines had been issued.

She said land use contraventions was a complaints driven process, with complaints being investigated by the city and, if necessary, a notice being served upon the property owners.

Transgressors were given deadlines and were prosecuted if they failed to comply.

Fines of up to R100,000 or a term of imprisonment, could be handed out if the prosecution was successful.

She said it should be noted that prosecution would be instituted even if the landowner had, subsequent to the notice, submitted a land use application to rectify the land use violation.

“Anyone thinking of starting a business from home should first check with the City of Cape Town to find out whether the zoning scheme regulations for their area allowed that activity,” said Waters in a statement.

Eric Basson, manager for the Parklands Home Owners Association (PHOA), where a large number of land use violations had taken place, said the association had received numerous complaints.

Basson said common illegal businesses in Parklands were electrical and spray painting companies.

“People are running industrial type of businesses not suitable for a residential area,” he said.

Bloubergstrand Residents Association chairperson and former Springbok Corne Krige said by cracking down on illegal businesses, the city showed it was committed to the rule of law.

But Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, Albert Schuitmaker, said the City should work in consultation with the business community to develop criteria which would allow certain businesses which did not have an impact on the environment to operate in residential areas.

Schuitmaker said single accountants operating from home with one computer and with no clients visiting the premises did not pose a threat and or impact the surrounding environment.

This was different to, for example, a panel beating business in a backyard or garage which was likely to cause a public nuisance in terms of noise and possible health threats.

“Applications [for zoning departure] need to be considered on an individual basis,” said Schuitmaker. —West Cape News

Tags: Business&Economy, pepco

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One Response to “Cape Town cracks down on land use violations”

  1. R Adams says:

    It is very easy for council workers to look at self-sustaining persons in black and white but they should realize that not all persons work for someone else. Many people have families to support and though council is complaint driven, council is also encouraging nagging , busybody neighbors who have nothing else to do but spy on other people. If the complainants spend halve as much time on developing themselves as they spend spying then they too will be able to earn more. It is very difficult to support yourself and then still have a busy body neighbor. People who work for themselves have to work twice as hard as the next person to be able to feed themselves. It is quite disappointing to live in a country where people are so easily willing to see their neighbor struggle to make ends meet. It is also disappointing to know that living in a democratic country as ours where we were given the opportunity to reconstruct and develop yourself that people are eager to see their neighbors collecting handouts from government ie. all pay lines. We live in a beautiful country but those spying neighbors should rather knit or watch soapies whole day than to watch their neighbors working. Shame on you South Africans who have forgotten how we struggled to get where we are today!

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