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<html> <head> <title>ANC calls for commission of enquiry into South Peninsula Municipality

ANC calls for commission of enquiry into South Peninsula Municipality

ANC calls for commission of enquiry into South Peninsula Municipality

28 March 2000

Statement by Max Ozinsky, ANC MPL and Spokesperson on Environment and Planning Development in the Provincial Legislature

The ANC calls for a fully constituted commission of enquiry to be appointed to investigate the Building Survey and Land Use Directorates of the South Peninsula Municipality (SPM). If such a commission is not appointed by the SPM or the Provincial Government, the ANC will refer this matter to the Public Protector.

A report on these two directorates by attorney Mr JF van Niekerk was presented to the Executive Committee of the SPM last week. The report was not presented for discussion to the full council meeting held today, Tuesday 27 March.

After a long debate, in which the NP opposed discussing the report, it was finally agreed that the report will be debated at the next council meeting to be held at the end of April.

At the next council meeting the ANC will call for a commission of enquiry with powers to call witnesses under oath and to produce documents.

"In his conclusion Mr van Niekerk stated that two malpractises were definitely found to exist in the directorates.

"In no other instances have malpractises been positively shown to exist. I note, however, that several witnesses alluded thereto either directly or indirectly but it was not possible to investigate these due to the lack of authority to subpoena witnesses under oath or to produce documents. (30.3.2)

"It is clear that the urgent grounds exist for such an enquiry. The ANC is shocked that the NNP majority in the council feel that no further enquiry is necessary. This amounts to a cover-up of the problems facing the SPM and disregard for the recommendations of Mr van Niekerk.

"The ANC fully supports Mr van Niekerk in his observation that `ratepayers are frustrated in that effectively they are unable to voice their complaints or concerns and be heard with a sympathetic ear.`

"Yet again the NNP in the South Peninsula seems determined to ignore the pleas of ratepayers for these cases to be investigated.

"It is shocking that Mr van Niekerk can conclude that `... if this had been a commercial enterprise established in this manner, its doors by now would have been closed and its assets sold by a liquidator in liquidation."

"Amongst the key issues raised by Mr van Niekerk in his report are:

  1. Mr van Niekerk concludes that malpractises exist in that SPM is functioning without a building control officer as contemplated by Section 5 of Act 103 of 1997 and that SPM is granting approval of plans in terms of Section 7 of the Act without consideration of a recommendation from a building control officer, which is a malpractise and illegal. (30.3.1)
  2. It was said to his enquiry that:

`the present procedures in the removal of restrictions are illegal and that the Removal of Restrictions Act (Act 84 of 1967) is currently misapplied in the majority of cases by the Premier on advice from the SPM.` (12.2.3.2 of the report)

"Mr van Niekerk concluded that:

`these are serious allegations to have been made and in my view can only be properly investigated if an inquiry takes place whereby it is able to issue subpoenas, call witnesses and insist that they be examined by oath. (12.2.3.3 of the report)

  1. Regarding the submission of Mr Kingwell, the SPMs Chief Building Inspector, Mr van Niekerk says:

`Likewise his comments re staff possibly being involved in drawing and submission of plans for members of the public and that `certain developers, architects, designers, councillors and owners seem to be given preferential treatment in the process of approval of their applications`, warrants further an independent investigation.` (19.3)

  1. A number of planners and other proffesionals, including Mr John Groenewald representing the Institute of Professional Land Surveyors, questioned the legitimacy of the procedures followed in planning applications.

"Mr Groenewald said:

`No longer can we advise on the merits of an application based on objective criteria ... we must question the legitimacy of the approaches. Moreover we suggest that these public planners are acting beyond their authority in this “deal-cutting” with serious negative impact on development.” (13.2.5)

  1. Mr van Niekerk says that:

`The procedures, practises and systems used for the consideration of applications in respect of building plans and land use development are neither appropriate nor effective.` (30.1)

For further comment, contact Max Ozinsky MPL, ANC Western Cape Spokesperson on Environment and Development Planning: 082 414-7147.

For any media enquiries, contact ANC Media Officer Gert Witbooi: 082-570-9118.

Issued by African National Congress Western Cape

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