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Unauthorised student accommodation remains an issue in Mbombela

The DA demands that all student accommodation adheres to the municipal by-laws.

The DA has tabled a motion in the City of Mbombela’s council requesting that all student accommodations be inspected and for legal action to be instituted against owners who have failed to adhere to related by-laws.

According the Ward 16 councillor Kyle Oliver, this follows two years of back-and-forth engagement with the municipality on the unauthorised student accommodation in the area.

“This has not produced positive results at all. Instead, the relevant authorities have been reluctant in enforcing by-laws. We carried out inspections and one of the things we discovered was that some of these student accommodations are registered as guest houses on the municipality’s database.

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“Even more alarmingly, inspections carried out by the municipality’s planning and development have shown that a number of these student accommodations are not compliant and that the owners are operating without land use rights,” he said.

Oliver added that the inspection conducted on February 13, 2020, also found the following:
• 50 Acacia Crescent – the owner of the property is running a student accommodation facility without the necessary land use rights in place. Legal notice CP 0566 was issued to the owner to cease operating within 30 days.
• 43 Boekenhout Street – the matter has been referred to the legal department for further legal processes. Ncube Attorneys was appointed to assist the municipality in obtaining the court order against the owner of the property for running students’ accommodation facility without the land use rights in place.
The property was inspected and at the moment there are no students. There is construction going on and the owner is intending to open student accommodation in the near feature. The matter will be monitored.

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“It is disappointing to note that none of the inspected student accommodations have complied with the required legislation and the investigation process has been mysteriously ceased.
The DA champions education and as a community we welcome all students in our neighbourhood. However, we will not tolerate violations of regulations and by-laws regulating public drinking, playing loud music all night and public indecency that have become a norm in the community to go unchallenged,” he said.

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