Ekurhuleni residents are feeling the aftermath of skeleton staff operating over the festive season who were unable to keep up with the high rate of infrastructure failures, which drastically affected service delivery.
Bruna Haipel, an Ekurhuleni ward 106 councillor, said it was unacceptable that planners could not print their own zone certificates.
A zoning certificate determines what rights a property owner has on the property. If, for example, it is zoned “res one” a person may only have one residential house.
“The issue is not that the planners can’t print their own zoning certificates. The issue is that there are no approvals and developers are losing patience and some people are building illegally,” said Haipel.
She added residents were not getting approvals and their zoning certificates, even after paying a fee to obtain them.
“This is why, in desperation, some developers start building before they even get approval,” she said.
Zweli Dlamini, spokesman for the Ekurhuleni municipality, said the procedure for zoning certificates was not new to ward councillors.
“The certificates are provided by the city based on its GIS [geographical information systems] software. Ward councillors know the procedure to follow in reporting matters to departments.”
Dlamini said certificates were still being issued.
“A senior manager is being investigated for the unlawful instruction she gave to some GIS officers to no longer issue these to the public. This has now caused confusion to the public, but certificates are still being provided within the city,” he said.
Ekurhuleni Ward 18 councillor Heather Hart said when she enquired about the zone certificate problem, she was told it concerned the GIS.
“What I was told was that there was a dispute between the GIS staff and city planners. GIS staff said it was not in their job description to have to print out zoning certificated for planners and planners should print out their own certificates.
“However, most planners do not always have access to the system, nor have they received proper training.”
The two ward councillors also expressed concern about a letter they received from the parks department city of Ekurhuleni that stated that officials would no longer engage with councillors without prior permission.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) sent human settlements, urban planning and cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Lebogang Maile’s office a petition on 12 January about this matter but Maile’s office said it had not received the petition.