City warns against illegal building

The City of Cape Town warns that if you are planning to build on your premises, or extend parts of your home, you need to submit a building plan for approval.

Two Vanguard Estate residents have gone head to head after one allegedly carried out major alterations to his home without informing the City and his neighbour.

Now his neighbour of 50 years is calling on the City to take action against the building works.

Eddie de Vos explains that his property’s walls and vibracrete are in a terrible state after his neighbour built a new section of their home against his.

“My neighbour drilled a hole in the back and front of my property, and then built their wall against it. My wall is now cracking because of it. To add, this was also done without submitting any building plans to the City and without my approval,” says De Vos.

“When I made contact with the City to lay a complaint, they explained that my neighbour last submitted a plan in 1992, but it expired, and his current building plans were never submitted.”

De Vos says that when complaining about the issue to a City inspector, he was told to take his neighbour to court for justice.

“This is not fair. The City needs to do something about this. While I am being told to take my neighbour to court and to sue him, nothing is being done about the issue. I am a pensioner.

“Where must I get money to fix up his damages and to fight him in court?

“The City said they will send him a letter and fine him. They also said he will be ordered to break the wall down, unless he pays for it.

“While they (the City) are still awaiting his building plans, I am the one suffering as my walls are cracking even more daily,” he says.

De Vos’s neighbour, Aslam Allie, says: “There is nothing illegal about my property. Everything was approved and stamped by the City.

“There seemed be confusion on the City’s side. However, the inspector I spoke to at the City’s offices recently explained that my plans I have submitted could be stuck in archives and not filed off as yet.

“I will visit the City again to have it sorted. My building plans were legally submitted and approved and it was built within the three-year time period as requested by the City. I also didn’t have to inform my neighbour about my building plans because it was not major alterations.

“There are lots of lies in his complaint.

“I am also not responsible for the cracks in De Vos’s walls. The inspector I spoke to explained that because his property is directly next to the main road, it could be the vibration of cars that pass daily.

“His walls have also been standing on his property for more than 20 years, and it is normal to be cracking at this stage.

“This is not about his walls, but more of a personal issue against his neighbours.”

Siyabulela Mamkeli, Mayco member (Central) says the City’s Development Management Department has investigated the above-mentioned complaint in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act and the promulgated National Building Regulations.

“It was found that the owner erected unauthorised 2.1m high boundary walls on the common boundary and an unauthorised street boundary wall. According to the Act, the City must give a property owner, who has committed an offence, the opportunity to rectify the transgression by submitting a building plan application,” says Mamkeli.

“As such, a notice to submit a building plan application for the unauthorised walls was served on the owner on 12 July 2018, giving him 60 days to comply.

“Should he fail to comply with the notice, the matter will be forwarded to the City’s prosecuting office for referral to the municipal court.”

He says the Act does not cover damage caused by the illegal building and is therefore deemed to be a civil matter.

To initiate a civil claim, the property owner should either consult an attorney or report it to their nearest police station.

“Property owners are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that all construction and land use on their properties complies with applicable legislation.

“Property owners are encouraged to contact their local district planning office for guidance in this regard if need be.

“Also, all unauthorised building work should be reported to the local district planning office for the required action in terms of the Act and National Building Regulations­.”