South Africa 30.5.2018 09:55 pm

Joburg City halts building of contentious student housing

Workers at the site of a building operation in Auckland Park after City of Joburg inspectors arrived and ordered that all work be stopped, failing which the workers would be arrested, 30 May 2018. Picture: Facebook

Workers at the site of a building operation in Auckland Park after City of Joburg inspectors arrived and ordered that all work be stopped, failing which the workers would be arrested, 30 May 2018. Picture: Facebook

Auckland Park residents have long questioned the approvals for the development, which is right behind the Campus Square shopping centre.

Century Properties spokesperson Japie Vos confirmed to Moneyweb that two building inspectors arrived at the site in Streatley Avenue, Auckland Park at around 3pm and ordered that all work cease immediately. If the workers failed to comply, they would be arrested, the officials said, according to Vos.

He said Century was issued two fines for “illegal” water and electricity connections – which he denied were made illegally.

“We have applied and paid, and Joburg Water and City Power installed the connections themselves,” he said.

The developer is surprised by the city’s actions as it has been cooperating with the new Building Control Officer (BCO) and has met her several times, Vos said.

Moneyweb earlier reported that the city withdrew Century’s provisional approval for construction along with similar approvals to several other developers. This came against the background of a forensic investigation and the suspension of the BCO.

Century maintained at the time that the city failed to follow the correct procedure in withdrawing the notice and continued building.

City of Joburg acting executive director of development planning Chris Dyani, however, earlier told Moneyweb the provisional authorisation to proceed with construction should never have been given, since the site development plan was still under consideration and other documents were outstanding at the time.

It was apparently on the basis of this withdrawal that the city ordered the operations to be stopped. It did not obtain a court order, contrary to what Dyani and ward councillor Bridget Steer earlier indicated the city planned to do.

Vos said the developer formally responded to the withdrawal notice. It made legal representations in a letter to the city, but never got any response. He said Century will consider its options.

Auckland Park residents have questioned the approvals for the development, which is right behind the Campus Square shopping centre and close to the Reya Vaya bus service.

It will consist of more than 200 residential units and 170 parking bays.

Resident Jane Griffiths, who has been vocal in her opposition to the construction, said the high-density development did not comply with the city’s development framework.

Century, however, denies any non-compliance, and Vos said another meeting with the city was scheduled for Friday.

Moneyweb

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