Following a recent clash between black and white residents in Booysens in Pretoria, the Tswane mayor, Solly Msimanga has vowed to eradicate all illegal practices of land use against the Property Rates Policy
The DA administration in Tshwane stated that the city would enforce the provisions of its Property Rates Policy to make residents comply with by-laws regarding illegal land use.
The Property Rates Policy, at its introduction, prohibited using land or property for purposes it was not initially zoned for but this has not been seriously enforced by the city’ past government.
Party spokesperson for Spatial Development, Siobhan Muller confirmed this saying the city would take action against those who used their properties for purposes they were not zoned for.
Enforcing this law became necessary after a clash that erupted between black and white residents in Booysens in Pretoria left one person injured last weekend.
The conflict started on Thursday morning in Pretoria and continued till Saturday morning as members of the Booysen community reportedly burnt tyres and barricaded roads with stones in the area in a bid to show off their anger.
According to reports gathered by BuzzSouthAfrica, the black people in the community started it all when they went on protest against their white counterparts who they say are preventing them from building houses on lands in the area.
Muller however, went on to explain that when the Property Rates Policy is enforced, perpetrators would run the risk of being charged if some residents contravened the by-law, for example, using a family dwelling for business or for a guest house or a commune.
“A property which is zoned for a particular use may not be used for something different. Only once approval has been granted after due process do amended rights come into effect and then changes can be made.” she explained further.
Giving touch on how the policy operates, Muller noted that complaints regarding the illegal use of land are often lodged by neighbours to the municipality after which a development compliance officer would be sent out to verify if the owner was using a property for a purpose other than what it was zoned for.
If any part of the by-law had been transgressed, a notice would be served to the owner, granting him or her 28 days to stop the illegal activity. “Once the 28-day period elapsed without the owner complying with the by-law, the matter is referred to municipal courts for legal action,” she said.
Meanwhile, Muller said the city of Tshwane administration is fully aware of the practice by other owners who would choose to legalize the illegal land use by submitting an application for consent use or rezoning.
To deal with the practice, the city had implemented a parallel process involving sending out a valuation officer to the property to verify if the land was being used illegally or not.
“The Valuation Department then changes the rating of the property to non-permitted use on a supplementary valuation role.”
“Notice is served on the owner of the change of the rating and, with the next rates account, the owner receives the much higher non-permitted rating, said Muller who added that the parallel processes are to ensure compliance by all land owners with the by-laws of the city.
Residents Associations accept the move to deal with the illegal land use, particularly in residential areas negatively affected by incorrect land use.