Residents stop ‘controversial’ building in the west again

Bricks scattered on the pavement. Photo: Kayla van Petegem

The residents of Pretoria West have stopped the third attempt at finishing the construction of a block of flats in Zeiler Street.

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According to resident, Eric Cordier, construction workers resumed work at the flats four weeks ago but quickly stopped by residents who complained that they construction was “unauthorised” because they were not consulted.

He said that residents gathered at the construction site again two weeks ago in protest.

He also complained that the construction workers were making a mess of the pavement with building rubble scattered all over.

“People cannot even walk on the pavement, they have to walk in the street putting their lives in danger,” he said.

Community leader, Mbutuzi Ntsembo said: “We do not know the contractors assigned to the construction. We have never seen them.”

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He said that there were no safety officers on site and regulations were not being followed.

“A building can not be over a certain length [height] in the suburbs.”

He said construction began in October but a month later residents stopped it.

Another community leader, Frank Mogale said: “A few months ago, an unknown woman [the project leader] came with construction workers and started demolishing the two houses that were there.

“We asked her what she was planning to do, and she told us that she was building flats.”

Mogale said he demanded she show him her title deed and the letter from the housing department authorising construction but she failed to do so.

“We tried to speak to her but she just shoved us aside.”

Mogale said a lot of fraudsters used the same modus operandi.

“It happens a lot … a person who is well-dressed, occupies land illegally and claims she/he is the rightful owner. In this case, we have a woman who is unknown to the community…who runs a big project without the knowledge of the community,” he said.

“I believe that she’s supposed to notify the community first.

“We are busy trying to uplift the community and if there’s a construction company planning to build houses, flats or malls, we believe it should notify the ward councillors in the area and give the local people work.”

The Tshwane metro and the owner of the block of flats could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.

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Kayla van Petegem

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