Beat it, judge tells illegal panel-beater who made neighbors’ lives hell

An unsightly large steel structure and a precast wall erected illegally on a property in a residential area must be demolished, says a KwaZulu-Natal High Court judge.

A Durban couple has been complaining to authorities since 2016 about this illegal steel structure and wall built in a suburb zoned ‘special residential’. They were ‘at their wits end’ from the constant banging, welding and movement of vehicles.
Image: Supplied

Judge Trevor Gorven has also directed that the panel-beating, spray-painting and container-repair business being run from the site be shut down.

The business is on three adjoining sites zoned “special residential” in Riverview Road, Ottawa, owned by Morgan and Pathmavathie Govender.

Neighbours Selvan and Yuveka Moonsamy said they were at their wits end after their continuous complaints from July 2016 to the eThekwini Municipality about the constant banging, welding and movement of vehicles had no effect.

They approached the court with the assistance of their legal team, Suren Kistan and Vishalan Naidu.

“They went through their protocols… but we essentially did the municipality’s job for them,” Kistan told TimesLIVE.

“It was an unusual situation because the municipality supported us. They had deemed the illegal structure to be hazardous to occupants, neighbours and the public,” he said.

In his ruling, Gorven said: “It is not as if the applicants rushed to court without attempting to exhaust other options… the municipality even issued cease and desist orders, but these were ignored.

“The municipality agreed that there were no building plans approved for the block steel wall structure and issued summons against Morgan Govender, who paid two admission of guilt fines, [totalling R6,500] for contraventions.”

The Govenders, in opposing the application, maintained that the structure was temporary, it had no foundations and they had submitted a building plan for a permanent structure to be erected.

The judge said, however, that the plan was for a different structure. “No approvals have been granted for the present one and the entire structure is illegal.”

With regard to the illegal use of the property, which had been leased to Nanda’s Panel House CC, he said the Govenders claimed that they were “not aware of any such business”.

“The name is certainly consistent with a panel beating entity but of course this does not prove the fact,” Gorven said. “While there are two storage containers on the property, they say they are unaware of the tenants refurbishing containers.

“They accept there are vehicles parked on the property, but say this is not a violation of any bylaw. They do not deny the photographs, which demonstrate that at one time there were at least 15 damaged vehicles parked there.”

Gorven said the Govenders did not contest evidence from the municipality that panel-beating and repairs of containers was taking place there “and it is clear that their denials are false and untenable”.

“The applicants have a clear right to prevent this illegal behaviour,” he said.

BY TANIA BROUGHTON-TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital

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