Builders beware

This illegal building extension is nearing completion despite the City issuing a desist notice to its owner last month.

Close to 500 people have signed a petition that calls on the City to dish out stiffer penalties to those who build illegally and accuses a Tygerhof property developer of being one of the worst offenders.

The online rallying cry by the Civic Action Group (CAG) claims the Ysterplaat, Brooklyn and Rugby have become “the playgrounds of illegal constructions owned by slum lords who manipulate and exploit the leniency demonstrated by the municipal planning tribunal when determining the appropriate administrative penalty”.

The call is for it to be standard policy to level the maximum fine on serial offenders or order them to demolish illegal structures.

The petition names Clifton Felix as a “serial illegal building offender” who “exploits” the penalty leniency.

According to the petition, of the more than 15 properties Mr Felix owns he has only paid penalties on at least three for offences ranging from unlawful building works to unauthorised alterations.

It says the Municipal Planning Tribunal could have slapped Mr Felix with a total R642 333 in fines for his “repetitive violations” but instead he has been made liable for just 5% of that: R32 638.

Unauthorised alterations are going ahead at Mr Felix’s latest property in Farnworth Street, Rugby, where he is building a second-storey flat and has continued with building despite a building inspector issuing a desist notice.

Faried Swartz owns the house behind him and said he was shocked to learn of the building.

“The entire unit, along with the door, windows and stairs, faces my property. The people living there will see right into my backyard. It’s a complete violation of privacy,” said Mr Swartz.