City moves to stop shacks at Milnerton home

The City of Cape Town has ordered the owner this Milnerton property to stop work on shacks that the City says are being built there illegally.

The City has threatened to take a Milnerton homeowner to court if he fails to stop shacks being built on his property.

The building inspector visited 12 Erica Road on Wednesday February 2 and issued the stop-work order, according to mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews.

This after Milnerton residents demanded that the City take action against “greedy landlords” who are building illegal shacks in their backyards and ignoring land-use laws.

Mr Andrews said that if the owner failed to comply with the stop-work order, the City would apply to the high court to “demolish the unlawful structures”, and a legal process would follow.

“If the owner does not abide by the stop-work order, the landlord will face a hefty fine to be determined by the court,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the buildings on the property were illegal and the owner would have to meet the requirements of the national building regulations, irrespective of the materials used for building at the property. Then the application for permission to build had to first be approved by the City.

The City could take up to 60 days to look at an application, notify the owner of changes or give approval, if the building was more than 500m² or 30 days if it was smaller.

The City had been inundated with C3 complaints about 12 Erica Road in the past two weeks, Mr Andrews said.

The Milnerton Central Ratepayers’ Association and about 20 residents met at the Milnerton council chambers in Bridal Way on Thursday February 10 to discuss the building activity at 12 Erica Road.

At the meeting, residents were encouraged to alert the City if they saw any illegal construction happening in the area.

MCRA chairman Bouwe van der Eems said more than 30 C3 notifications had been sent to the City about the “problem property”.

Were it not for “vigilant residents” who notified the City about “greedy owners”, thousands of backyard dwellers would have moved into Milnerton Central by now, he said.

Construction had started at the property on Tuesday January 25 and reached roof height the following day. “It looked as if it was an informal settlement going up there: the shacks were roofed and almost weather-proofed,” he said.

The premises had already been flagged as a potential problem house since last year, with numerous visits from Law Enforcement and police regarding issues such as noise transgressions, he said.

There were at least 20 to 35 people living on the property, he added.

Several other houses in Milnerton were being observed because residents had noticed similar backyarding trends and feared they would lose millions in property value.

When Tabletalk visited 12 Erica Road on Thursday February 12, big trees covered the front yard and two children could be seen playing in a bucket of water on the lawn.

A man, who did not want to give his name, said he was a tenant at the property and he had been living there for three months already.

He said he was living in the main house and the owner had asked him to clean the house and do the gardening.

Three shacks were visible from the street.

The man claimed there were only five people living on the property.

He provided a number for the “man who deals with the rentals at the property”. When Tabletalk phoned this number, a man who identified himself as Ben answered. He refused to give his surname or answer any questions. He said the owner of the property was also not prepared to talk to us.