Ricochet News

George Municipality extends amnesty period for landowners to legalise structures

Sep 13, 2017
George Municipality extends amnesty period for landowners to legalise structures

The George Municipality has launched an amnesty campaign to allow landowners to legalise all existing illegal construction works on their property without paying the appropriate higher building plan fees and to update building plans records.

This is after the George Municipality Council extended the current amnesty period for general building plans for a further period of 6 months to 31 December 2017.

General building plans applications for Indigent households as well as applicants in the rural areas as well as in Uniondale, Haarlem and surrounding areas have been given a further extension for a period of 6 months, from 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2018.

Aggressive information campaigns have been launched to raise awareness of owners’ responsibilities and landowners are encouraged to legalise any unlawful structures on their plots.

Nico Koen, the George Local Municpality Manager: Building Control, says the information campaigns have made many landowners aware of their responsibilities. The building control department is overwhelmed with inquiries regarding the status of landowners’ building plans in the council's possession. Existing illegal structures that qualify for amnesty are submitted daily.

The amnesty campaign is a great success and many landowners are in the process of legalising all illegal structures and/or illegal land use. The building control department is experiencing a noticeable increase in the amount of building plans submitted.

Since July 1, 2015 to September 6, 2017, 882 amnesty building plans have been submitted.

Koen says, however, he believes that despite campaigns, media reports, radio broadcasts, advertisements, notifications and much more, many landowners still fail to legalise illegal structures and/or illegal land uses.

In terms of Section 4 (1) of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, No. 103 of 1977 and other applicable legislation, it is the responsibility of the Local Authorities to ensure that no one has a building, either temporary or permanent, and regardless of the materials which is used for its erection, without the prior written approval of the local government concerned.

Landowners are called upon to act within the said Act. Koen says there will be strict action after the amnesty campaign. Landowners who do not obey the law make themselves guilty of an  offense.

The Council approved the appointment of a draftsman on a fixed-term contract of 12 months to assist in the preparation of building plans in all residential areas that qualify for Indigent on the municipality's database.

Landowners can visit the building management department if they have any queries about structures or building plans at the George Municipal Main Building, Fourth Floor, York Street or call 044 801 9370.