The construction of a boundary wall on an open piece of land in Parklands sparked upset among residents on social media after it was found that it was part of a mosque for which the City has no building plans on record.
The City served the developer with a “cease works” notice on Monday August 8 after residents and the Parklands Homeowners’ Association (PHOA) alerted Ward 23 councillor Nora Grose.
On the Ward 23 Facebook page Ms Grose wrote that according to her information no building plans had been approved and for this reason the “cease works” notice was served for work on the boundary walls.
“The building inspector was instructed to investigate any additional building work being conducted,” said Ms Grose, thanking the PHOA for reporting the matter.
Several comments on the Facebook page cited concerns about a mosque being built in the area.
Some residents said they were already enduring loud noises from a neighbourhood church. (“Church raises holy hell in suburb,” Tabletalk December 17, 2014). They were also worried about a perceived lack of consultation with neighbours about development in the area.
However, resident Ghalied Solomon, responded that a mosque would be welcomed by the community’s many Muslim residents.
“There are more than enough churches in Parklands, and they make lots of noise. I don’t think the noise is an issue, as this can be easily addressed with new technology as done in other areas.
“The community was not requesting its right to be engaged when all the churches were being built, I don’t see how this place of worship should be treated any different.”
Wayne McCrae replied: “It’s not about religion. It’s about the impact on the area, as well as the rules and regulations that have already been broken. A complete disregard for the residents who already live here.”
Nicole Draai added: “I am a resident of Dartford Drive too, and unless you live here and have to experience the noise of the church three to four days a week, it is easy to say we should sit down. No amount of complaints to the City has resolved the noise issue, excessive traffic and speeding on Dartford Drive.
“Should the mosque be erected, we will be smack bang in the middle of a church and a mosque and possibly double the issues. This has nothing to do with xenophobia or trying to infringe on the religious freedoms of people.”
PHOA manager Eric Basson said a site development plan (SDP) had been submitted to the association for a proposed mosque on the land, which, he noted, had City zoning for a place of worship making a land-use application unnecessary.
The company which built the boundary wall, Sellesa Properties, said it did not own the land and was simply acting on the instructions of the property’s owner.
“Sellesa Group have absolutely nothing to do with the mosque and cultural centre that are being built. The owners of the mosque and cultural centre gave me permission to have my containers stand on site, while I was busy building my two developments, Augusta Mews and Libertas Mews,” said Sellesa Properties owner, Tawha Rasdien.
“The owners of the site asked me to put up the boundary wall, and, to my knowledge, there was a plan submitted to council for the boundary wall and not the construction of the mosque. If City council and Metro police are doing their job, it wouldn’t have been necessary for the owners to put up the boundary wall as people are dumping old building material and rubble on site,” he said.
Mr Rasdien said public participation was not mentioned when churches were built in the area and that the development had attracted criticism simply because it happened to be a mosque.
This City of Cape Town spokeswoman Priya Reddy confirmed that the City had not received a building plan application for the mosque.
She noted, however, that if a mosque were to be built there no public participation would be needed as the site had business zoning, which allowed for a place of worship.
Tabletalk asked the City to confirm whether building plans had been submitted for the boundary wall but by the time this edition went to print it had not responded.