Durban - A Chatsworth do-gooder who took it upon himself to fix and clean vacant land next to his home that was previously neglected and an eyesore to the neighbourhood, was slapped with a R5000 fine for his trouble.
Pat Naicker, of Havenside, will be legally challenging the municipality for issuing the fine.
Naicker was handed the fine by a metro law enforcement official after tidying up a municipal area, installing a drainage system and building a staircase next to his home and that of his neighbour.
Pat Naicker built a staircase next to his Havenside home and that of his neighbour and installed a drainage system - then was handed a R5 000 fine.
Naicker said he and his neighbour, Charles Izatt, had decided to install the drainage system as their homes were constantly flooded during heavy rains and that the municipality had failed to do anything about it.
He said the flooding of their properties was caused by water that came from an open space behind their properties, which sloped towards their houses.
“I have lived here for over 50 years and my neighbour for five years. My family has been experiencing this problem since 1987. Whenever we tried to contact the municipality for help they would tell us that we were not allowed to adopt that area, but we should deal with the stormwater when it entered our property.
“In an attempt to solve the problem, we approached our ward councillor, who gave us permission to adopt the land and install a drainage system, which cost us R40000. We were granted rights to do what we did, therefore I will be challenging the fine,” Naicker said.
Naicker said damage from the stormwater has cost them hundreds of thousands of rands.
“The cost to repair and replace furniture since this problem started is over R200000, for both our homes. Our insurance companies refuse to pay out, saying it is the municipality’s fault,” Naicker said.
He said the matter had had a negative impact on his family because it denied them comfort.
“Every time it rained we had sleepless nights because we feared for our safety, like the house collapsing while we were sleeping,” Naicker said.
Ganas Govender, the ward councillor, said he gave Naicker written permission as “he was taking a good initiative that was not going to affect anyone”.
Msawakhe Mayisela, eThekwini municipality spokesperson, said it was illegal for a resident, which was the case with Naicker, to illegally take over a space and build without a permit.
“The City’s requirement for obtaining approval for building plans is to satisfy the local authority that an application complies with the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act and any other law that may be applicable. Applicable laws would include, but not be limited to, planning and environmental legislation,” Mayisela said.
Mayisela added the municipality was committed to ensuring that public spaces were kept clean and safe for residents under the “Adopt A Spot” programme, which allowed residents to take over certain spots to keep them clean and safe.