The City of Joburg’s team of investigators are said to have found more illegal activities in the Bramley Village rental housing development, with illegal water connection and issues concerning electricity supply.
Amnesty International’s human rights defender, Andrew Chinnah, said he was part of the team accompanied by senior managers and acting building control officer Celiwe Mtebula when the illegal activities were discovered yesterday.
“They found more illegal water connections and issues with the electricity supply.
“The occupational certificate has not been granted yet [but] there were prospective tenants on site securing units,” he said. Chinnah said the team of investigators was from Johannesburg’s group forensic and investigation service (GFIS), headed by Major-General Shadrack Sibiya, the former Gauteng Hawks boss.
The visit was triggered by The Citizen highlighting issues plaguing the private housing development.
Last week, The Citizen reported how the MMC responsible for development planning in the City of Joburg, Reuben Masango, was accused of ignoring irregularities in the development.
These included lack of public consultation, an insufficient storm water drainage system – resulting in the absence of an occupancy certificate – and illegal water connections.
Despite these revelations, Masango was said to have failed to act and, instead, went on to attend the official opening of the first phase of the private rental block, hailed as a sanctuary for middle-income earners, in early December.
During the event, Masango was quoted as welcoming the development due to a critical shortage of housing. He said at the time “we are happy to have assisted with the development, including its planning”.
This was more than four months after Chinnah had written to Masango’s office, pointing out the irregularities and requesting an urgent meeting with him.
Manager in Masango’s office Poppy Louw confirmed the site visit but could not confirm the discovery of illegal activities.
“A team comprising officials from various departments and entities, including City Power and Joburg Water, conducted a site inspection [on Thursday morning] as part of their routine compliance inspection, and to follow up on alleged illegal connections,” she said.
She said the team was consolidating its findings and would provide the office with its report once it was complete.