The member of mayoral committee (MMC) responsible for development planning in the City of Joburg has been accused of blatantly ignoring irregularities in the development of Bramley Village, a private rental apartment block hailed as a “sanctuary” for middle-class earners.
According to e-mail correspondence that The Citizen have seen, the office of the MMC, Reuben Masango, was made aware of the flouting of regulations in the development in Bramley, north east of Johannesburg, as early as August last year.
These included “lack of public consultation prior to the approval of the development, illegal water connection during construction as well as lack of occupational certificate due to insufficient water drainage system”.
Despite all these revelations, Masango is alleged to have failed to act and instead went on to attend the official opening of the first phase of the private rental unit development in early December last year.
During the event, Masango was quoted as welcoming the development due to critical shortage of housing and that “We are happy to have assisted with the development, including its planning”.
This was at least more than four months after Amnesty International human rights defender Andrew Chinnah had written to Masango’s office, pointing out the irregularities and requesting an urgent meeting with him.
In the e-mail, acknowledged by Jacqui Alexander in Masango’s office, Chinnah requests a meeting with Masango, pointing out that the application of the National Building Regulation without applying the constitution prejudiced the broader community.
He states in the e-mail, among a slew of other issues, that the metro’s application of the act without constitutional considerations was “advancing the interest (financial) of the developer over the interest of the broader community”.
Chinnah further requested that the construction be halted as the provisional authorisation had expired and that the construction was partly approved by a Building Control Officer who, he stated, operated fraudulently and was fired last year.
Chinnah confirmed the e-mails but said, other than the disconnection of the illegal water connection following a probe by Major General Shadrack Sibiya’s internal investigation unit‚ no action had been taken by Masango’s office.
He stressed that he had no qualms with the developers, saying the issue had been the flouting of legislation by the metro.
“I am a human rights defender and educator and my interactions with the (metro) have always been around constitutional issues, (for example) no public participation, the (metro) encouraging the occupation of the dwellings in spite of them knowing that the forensics investigators discovering illegal water connections,” he said.
Attempts to source comment from Masango’s office have been futile.