South Africa 15.8.2018 04:17 pm

Ekurhuleni denies rumours of municipal parks sold to private owners

Wimbledon Park in London, England. For illustrative purposes. Picture: Pixabay

Wimbledon Park in London, England. For illustrative purposes. Picture: Pixabay

Parks remain municipal property, and will not be sold as private property, according to the municipality.

Farrarmere residents allegedly found out that certain parks in the suburb were being sold to private owners.

According to Farrarmere resident Anne McLeman, the selling of these parks was allegedly approved by council although there was no public participation to dispute the matter, she told Benoni City Times.

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“We had no idea this was happening, and the parks are an important part of our community,” she said.

“Friends and families spend their weekends at the parks, where will they go if they are all privately owned?”

According to Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) spokesperson Themba Gadebe, the parks are owned by the Ekurhuleni Municipality or City Parks and the metro has not sold any parks in the area.

“We do not sell the municipality parks,” Gadebe said.

When asked about the correct procedure for public participation, Gadebe said once the council has decided to permanently close and alienate or transfer ownership, a property zoned as “public open space (park)”, a notice must be published in the Provincial Gazette and in at least two newspapers circulating in the council’s area of jurisdiction.

This briefly sets out the council’s proposals, stating a plan was open for inspection at a specified place, during specified office hours and calling upon any person who had any objection to lodge his or her objection with council, in writing, not later than a specified date, which would be at least 30 days from the date of the publication of the notice.

“About 30 days before the time for the lodging of objections will expire, the council will post copies of the notice in a conspicuous manner on or near the park which is to be closed permanently,” he said.

According to Gadebe, should any objections be received, they will be referred to the city’s Municipal Planning Tribunal for consideration and final determination.

In the event of failure to adhere to the above requirements in terms of the provisions of Sections 68 of the Local Government Ordinance 1929, as amended, such failure should be reported to the city’s Legal Section.

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