Municipality takes action on problem buildings

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is clamping down on problem buildings, which have become a safe-haven for criminals and a nuisance for residents.

A total of 40 problem buildings were identified, and the problems with four of them have already been resolved through the Municipality’s intervention. Centrahil, Richmond Hill, North End and the Port Elizabeth CBD are some of the priority areas.

These actions have primarily been taken to send a message to rogue landlords who are non-compliant and failing to cooperate with the metro.

“We are going to start taking action against the property owners of these buildings and we have issued notices to them. We have issued intentions to demolish some (of the buildings) and some (owners) have received notices to fix their buildings,” Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip said.

The Problem Buildings By-law will be given to the council on August 16. While the city is still waiting for the new by-law, they have appointed a special committee to deal with the problem buildings.

“We are currently using exiting laws, such as the Health and Safety Act, to get rid of the buildings,” said Human Settlements MMC Councillor Nqaba Bhanga.

The municipality is working with the Provincial Resource Heritage Act Council and the Nelson Mandela Bay Heritage Trust to assist with problem buildings. “Although they are not keen on the demolition of historical buildings, they are very pleased with our endeavours to prevent the demolition of historical buildings,” Trollip said.

However, some of these buildings have to be demolished taking into account that most of them are unsafe to occupy and the criminals are illegally occupying the buildings.

A total of nine landlords have been taken to court and litigation is proceeding against them.

The municipality have also identified state institutions and has given a notice to Transnet to start fixing its derelict buildings in the South End area.

The Department of Education have also received a notice to start tidying up, securing and or demolishing many of their school buildings that lay unoccupied across the metro.

“We often get very little cooperation from government institutions.

“So, we have also embarked on a process to litigate against state-owned enterprises and departmental owned properties in the city,” Trollip said.

Trollip has led a delegation of Mayoral Committee Members, SAPS and Metro Police on a site visit on August 2 to one of the recently demolished problem buildings in Pearson Street in Centrahil.

The mayor added that the building was in a terrible state and now that it’s demolished, an open space is available for someone to create something new. “We want South Africans and every lawful citizen in this city to be safe.

“It cannot be a safe city when criminals are allowed to prey on the community,” Trollip said.