A Mountain Rise property owner is facing an uphill battle in trying to get the Department of Human Settlements and Public Works to maintain neighbouring plots owned by the department.
Mahomed Ganie wants to develop his property on Apollo Road but cannot as a result of the department’s failure to clean the surrounding properties, he said in court papers.
The department’s properties, he said, extends from Royston Road to Dartnell Road and has been used as a thoroughfare and a hiding place for criminals.
Ganie added that grass is growing out of control on the department’s properties and the area is a magnet for illegal dumping, making it difficult for him to access his own property.
Ganie brought an application to the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday asking that the MEC for the department be held in contempt of court, fined or even imprisoned for ignoring a court order he obtained in April 2019.
According to that order, the department had to clear its properties within two months and it also had to clear Apollo Road within 30 days. In addition, the department had to maintain its own land and Appollo Road by ensuring Ganie has access to his property.
In the latest contempt of court application, Ganie said that the department has failed to carry out the terms of the initial court order, despite numerous reminders, which he details.
He said a letter was delivered by hand in January last year to two department representatives who were in court the day the order was granted. In addition, an invitation was also advanced for the matter to be discussed in an effort to resolve it amicably.
A response was received in March, a meeting date was arranged, but never took place, said Ganie.
He added that the country then went into lockdown in March due to Covid-19.
He said in September he received a letter indicating that the department had entered into contracts with service providers. It was accompanied by a timetable to clear the sites regularly. However, the site was left to allow the grass and bushes “to grow to huge heights and were not cleared satisfactorily and regularly”, said Ganie.
He said the situation has deteriorated further and access to his property is made impossible by the department’s failure to comply with the court order.
Msunduzi Municipality is also cited in the application because it has a duty in terms of the by-laws to ensure the clearing of the properties belonging to the department, said Ganie.
Although the municipality had cleared the road in terms of the court order, access to his property has again been blocked.
Ganie said that at this stage he does not seek any order against the municipality. He said that the department is not taking this matter seriously, causing him severe prejudice and damages as time goes by.
The case was adjourned to June 29.