Advocates want inquiry into ‘illegal, dubious developments’ in Durban

05 September 2017

Advocates for Transformation (AFT) in KwaZulu-Natal are calling on the eThekwini Municipality to take urgent steps to establish a commission of inquiry into “the proliferation of dubious developments” in Durban and its suburbs.

The advocates also called on lawyers to provide their services pro bono to “eradicating the scourge which will eventually destroy the beauty of our city”.

While not mentioned in the resolution, it is believed one of the developments of concern is the building in Currie Road – labelled a “monstrosity” by neighbours – and which has been the subject of protracted litigation.

In the Durban High Court, a concession was made by the city that some neighbours had not been properly notified of the intended rezoning of the site which permitted developers Serengeti Rise to build the R61-million, nine-storey “boundary to boundary” building, the first such re-zoning of its kind on Durban’s Berea.

Judge Esther Steyn ordered the partial demolition of the building – to four storeys with the usual side-space requirements – as per the original zoning of the site.

The developers successfully appealed this ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal which also ordered that the neighbours pay the costs.

The matter is presently before the Constitutional Court, which is expected to decide soon on whether or not it will grant neighbours leave to appeal the SCA decision.

Activist group Save our Berea alleges that city officials are turning a blind eye to developments being built without approval.

Neighbours of two other developments “going up before our eyes” complained that they had not been properly informed of the plans.

Save our Berea’s Cheryl Johnsonsaid: “It seems everyone just carries on regardless… unafraid…it’s an epidemic,” she said.

The AFT resolution, proposed by Advocate Rajesh Choudree, SC, and seconded by Advocate Griffiths Madonsela, SC, notes: “There has been an abdication of generally accepted town planning principles…and there is a lack of financial and legal support to assist activist organisations challenging this,” they said.

Proposing that the city establish a commission of inquiry, the advocates also called on its integrity unit to take urgent steps to stop these developments from proceeding.

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