Oversight Report of Draft Bitou BudgetApril 30, 2020
Ratepayers UpdateMay 23, 2020
13 May 2020
Dear Mayor Lobese,
Can you please explain to us the delay in demolishing the derelict and illegal structure on ERF 156 below Signal Hill, which is unsafe, an eyesore, and is negatively affecting property values around it? We have heard from the Planning Department that the delay is with the mayor’s office.
Neighbours and ratepayers have had to live with this unsightly structure for almost 30 years because of the lack of action by the Municipality, and now we hear the delay has been sitting in the mayors’ office for a year.
Your legal counsel, Mosdell Pama & Cox, succeeded in obtaining a demolition order (Case 21091/15 ) on the 25 November 2016 in the High Court, Western Cape Division. This order was not executed by the defaulting parties within the 210 days as ordered.
Further to a meeting with the Head of Building Control on 14 February 2020, the position as regards ERF 156 and the demolition saga, we were told the following:
- The court order re demolition still stands and the Municipality still intends to act on it.
- Tenders were called for last year and of the 5 or 6 that drew documents, 2 submitted tenders. When these tenders were submitted, they were taken from the department receiving them (Building Control) by Ludolf Gericke (who was acting as advisor to the mayor at that stage) and were held there – nothing was done re awarding.
- Prior to the above (early on in 2019) Gericke, before he became employed in the mayor’s office, put in an application in the name of his private town planning practice for the structure (on behalf of the current owner) to be converted to a boutique hotel. He gave a presentation to the Environmental Forum outlining this project at about the time of its submission to the municipal Planning Dept. In view of the fact that there was a court order for demolition already issued then, the Planning Dept. appeared not to act on the submission. This then subsequently led later on in the year to Gericke putting in the Appeal application to get a ruling on his submission. This now appears to have gone dead.
- In the meantime the submitted tenders became invalid and for some technical reason the municipality has had to wait 6 months for re-issue of tenders. We are now at this stage of the saga.
- Building Control is insistent that the demolition will go ahead and are in the process now of getting new tender documents out, delayed only due to the lockdown. An amount of several million has already been budgeted this year for this. Obviously this will be recovered, we are told, by recouping it from the owner, or if there is default, by taking possession of the property.
This matter has been in your office for the better part of a year. Please give us your assurance that the planned demolition will proceed, and the title conditions which preclude any new construction onto the existing structure, will be honoured.
cc: Municipal Manager