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Peoples Post Grassy Park

Mar 28, 2016

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Peoples Post Grassy Park

  • E-mail: [email protected] Tuesday 1 March 2011 Tel: 021 713 9440 Fax: 021 713 9481

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    City clamps down on backyard structuresMELISSA LE ROUX

    RRESIDENTS of the RadnorCourt flats and HorizonView in Ottery, who live

    in abject overcrowded condi-tions, have been ordered tobreak down the costly exten-sions they made to their homesin the hopes of easing their dis-comfort.

    Most families live cramped up,with as many as nine people shar-ing a tiny two-bedroomed flat.

    The residents claim that they didnot disregard the law when theyerected the structures. JacquelineFrancis, who has been living at theRadnor Court flats for 30 years, saysshe first approached the local hous-ing office for permission to build anextension five years ago.

    She followed up this visit withcountless more times, but got noresponse, she claims.

    In 2006, I went to the housing of-fice to ask for permission to builda structure. At the time my familywasnt that big, but I still wouldhave liked to expand for my kids tolive comfortably. Up till today, I ha-

    vent heard anything,Francis finally took matters into

    her own hands and put up a much-needed structure two weeks ago.

    It had barely gone up when LawEnforcement came knocking at herdoor, demanding that she tear downthe R25 000, one-bedroom vibra-crete structure.

    The officers said they had re-ceived a complaint from a neigh-bour and demanded that the struc-ture be removed or they would re-move it themselves, says Francis.

    After three visits from Law En-forcement, Francis family careful-ly took down the structure, that wasbuilt by contractors, before herfamily got a chance to move in.

    I have a two-bedroomed house.I have an uncle whos very sick andsleeps on the floor. Theres my son,with his two children and me andmy husband with my other threechildren. I just wanted to make liv-ing a bit more comfortable for mychildren.

    They kept on telling me that thisis council property, but when I ap-proached the housing office, theydidnt respond, she says.

    After the removal of the struc-ture, Francis says she approachedthe housing office once again. How-ever, no one came by for an inspec-tion.

    There are many people aroundhere who have structures but theirshavent been removed. Im notagainst those who have wendyhouses put up but why did theyhave to make me remove mine?

    Im just doing it for my chil-drens benefit. Day and night I criedbecause this happened its for mychildren, no one else, she says.

    A community worker, who wish-es to remain anonymous, says mostof the flats in the Ottery area areovercrowded and the structures areput up for their families to have aproper place to sleep.

    The people must sleep in the din-ing room. Some even sleep in thekitchen. They have to make spaceand put up something in the yard,

    otherwise where are they going togo? she says.

    According to ward councillorGeorge March, when the housingoffice is notified about structuresbeingputup, they immediately lookinto the matter.

    People need permission to putup structures on council property;they can evict you and you must fol-low the rules, he says. He also addsthat structures that have been upfor years will not be broken down.

    Another resident, Farieda Ros-souw, who has been living in hermothers home for 38 years, put upa wooden structure three weeksago.

    In 2009, we applied for permis-sion at the housing office and wehave it on a disc to prove it. Theytold us that it would cost R50 for apermit of a year.

    Two years have gone by, and weare still waiting. They can at leastgive a no or yes; but nothing.

    She adds that after the structurewas erected, Law Enforcement saidthey needed to remove the struc-ture. They were very rude to mymommy and she called me in a stateof panic. What is really the prob-lem? Its not like we are damagingthe property; we pay rent.

    At least we tried to go throughthe proper procedures to do it right so why cant we have a bungalowput up? Isnt it a health risk for alot of people to stay in one house?asks Rossouw.

    The family is in the process of dis-mantling their R18 000 structurepiece-by-piece.

    The housing office is trying toprevent people from building struc-tures without permission, ex-plains March.

    When Peoples Post visited the ar-ea, the reporter sawbackyard struc-tures on many properties.

    Resident Marina Lewis, saidmost people did not get permission.She is one of them.

    I had mine put up a couple ofyears ago and no one told me to re-move it. So now why are they telling

    them? she says.Mayoral Committee Member for

    Housing, Shehaam Sims, said thatif anybody puts up a structure oncouncil-owned land without per-mission, it will be taken down, inline with City policy.

    Ive been watching this for a fewmonths now. There are 41 500 struc-tures in the City of Cape Town thathave been put up without permis-sion and have not been removed asthe housing department was notaware of it, she says.

    There is however good news forprospective backyard dwellers,says Sims.

    A new backyard dweller policywill come into effect on Friday andwill enable people to apply for per-mission to build a structure ontheir property with fewer restric-tions. I have been pushing hard forthe backyard dweller policy and itseems like I have been encouragingthose who do not apply forpermission, but I knowthat houses in some areasare bursting at the seams.Most houses are over-crowded and I am aware

    that some residents do apply totheir local housing offices but getno where because some officials arelethargic.

    I have taken all of this into ac-count and it will make applicationsfor backyard structures much sim-pler.

    Sims said residents needed toabide by the rules. The house can-not be next to a servitude or bound-ary line and it cant be too close toanother structure as it would posea fire hazard.

    Director of the Hanover ParkBackyard Dwellers Association,Ricardo Sedres, says residentsshould delay erecting structuresuntil the new policy comes intoplay. It is sad to see peoples struc-tures, that they worked so hard for,being demolished. If given a warn-ing, people should rather removethe structure themselves so that thematerials can be used again.

    BIT BY BIT: The Rossouw family is taking apart their wendy house.

    FORCIBLY REMOVED: The Francisfamily had to take their structureapart before it was destroyed by LawEnforcement. Photos: Melissa Le Roux

  • Page 2 Peoples Post Grassy Park GENERAL Tuesday 1 March 2011

    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

    Hum

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    Com

    munications

    C91983

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    WESTERN CAPE

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