Non-compliance with Building Codes

The deadly Tongaat roof collapse has riveted one’s attention on the total contempt many builders and developers have for the municipal and national building codes and authorities.

In Yeoville & Belleview in Gauteng we see this contempt being exercised daily and we see the inability or unwillingness of municipal authorities to enforce codes and even when obliged by community pressure to issue stop orders, we see the unwillingness of municipalities to enforce these stop orders.

A case in point is a building in Yeoville, being erected without plans being submitted and therefor without approval.  According to the plans we have seen, the building is intended to house perhaps 300 children in approximately 20 M x 4 M on two floors, or perhaps 450 children on three floors (about 150 children per floor, or about 0.6M² per child), at least that is what the plans indicate.

The Direct Democracy Forum are are horrified at the potential for disaster effecting perhaps as many as 450 children in a building built without local authority oversight, in spite of the municipality having been warned of the illegal building activity and indeed even acknowledging the problem and issuing stop orders.  As with the Tongaat Mall case, the builder / developer simply ignores the stop orders and presses ahead with the building.  In the Yeoville case the developer also ignored the protests and objections of the surrounding neighbours.  

As with Tongaat, the local municipality failed to enforce the stop orders and presumably believe they have done their duty and a long and slow legal process begins, perhaps extending over years, which they see as their only ongoing obligation.  

The DDF believe that these acts are little better than piracy by developers and it might even be argued that the municipalities’ inaction is in effect their colluding in these acts.

Why do we have building codes which are ignored, bylaws which are ignored and stop orders which are ignored?  Why indeed do we have municipalities who cannot or simply will not do their jobs?  Just as with the Johannesburg street vendor fiasco, the municipalities are simply not managing the environs which is their duty to manage,  Once again they are not delivering the services which they are mandated to deliver.  Indeed, are they even mandated to deliver services except by virtue of empty promises uttered at the beginning of each election cycle?  

The Tongaat disaster is a tragic consequence of one example of that sort of neglect.

The DDF have a solution for this dilemma.  Visit DDF local government policies and see how municipalities can be forced to deliver services and do their duties or be forced out of office and possibly even face criminal charges for neglect and dereliction of duty.

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The buck stops at the ballot box 

Evicted Street Vendors’ Plight

The Direct Democracy Forum believe they understand the objectives of both the Johannesburg Municipality (cleanliness and orderly conduct in Johannesburg’s Streets) and Johannesburg’s street vendor community (right to securely earn a living) but believe that indiscriminate removal of vendors from the streets is not the way to go about realizing either of these objectives.

What is needed in place of such draconian measures and the obvious costly legal challenges in response, is proper and ongoing management of the streets in which vendor activities are allowed.

In the view of the DDF, proper management of our streets does not seem to be happening, perhaps this is deemed too costly in terms of manpower and budget.  But that is what managing a city is about, the proper allocation of manpower and budget to see that agreements between the city and its residents are complied with, not indiscriminate raids and confiscation of goods and property when the agreements break down, which lower the city authorities to the level of pirates and brigands themselves.  All that to clean up a mess created by poor management, amounting in effect to poor service delivery.

If the job of managing the streets was done properly in the first place, this questionable behaviour would not have occurred and street vendors would be secure as productive members of Johannesburg’s streets and structures.

DDF local government policies will make for accountable and transparent government and, amongst other things, for proper service delivery and the proper management of the streets of all the country’s settlements, villages, towns and cities.

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The buck stops at the ballot box.