Numerous building control and environmental transgressions have allegedly taken place at the Rietvlei Zoo Farm in the south of Johannesburg, including the destruction of a memorial site.
An eviction order application forms part of a legal action plan by entities including the Joburg Property Company and Building Development Management, Development Planning, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Environmental Health.
Alberton Record reports that the Rietvlei Zoo Farm is a substantial property that was originally used by the City Zoo as an animal rehabilitation centre. A portion of the property is also a wetland, while another portion contained a memorial site which was protected by the City’s heritage policy.
When the City Zoo decided to relocate their animal rehabilitation centre to Parys in the North West, the property was put out to lease as it was a substantial green space that was ideal for camping and other nature orientated activities, according to a press release by Leah Knott, City of Johannesburg MMC for Economic Development.
It was determined that the lease to manage the property on behalf of the City would be awarded to a local property company.
However, negotiations broke down and no lease agreement was signed. It is alleged that the property company had engaged in illegal sub-letting and it is accused of having facilitated the construction of numerous illegal buildings that have no authorised building plans.
Further to this, a driving range has been built on the wetland and the memorial has been destroyed to make way for what the press release describes as ‘additional illegal construction.’
Toni Mackrell, Rietvlei Zoo Farm Executive Manager, says she can’t comment before she has sought legal advice.
More information will follow.