Back rooms debacle in Cosmo City

Members of the Cosmo City Task Team are Edward Mariba (secretary), William Ramotlane (chairperson) and Richard Nranwashe (spokesperson).

 

 

 

The City of Johannesburg‘s effort to halt the extension of properties in Cosmo City in an effort to control buildings was faced with mixed reactions from residents.

The City’s Department of Development Planning recently started issuing the standard contravention notices to residents who were extending their properties to rent out backrooms.

This process was initially started last year in Extension 5 but has since spread to Extension 8.

Residents did not heed the call but instead resort to engage with the MMC for Development Planning, councillor Funzela Ngobeni.

Some of the infuriated residents allegedly held hostage the MMC and the Ward 100 councillor, Rosina Mosito, during the bylaws contravention meeting on 4 March.

MMC Ngobeni addressed them and promised to seek an amicable solution to the problem.

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Residents have incepted the Cosmo City Task Team (CCTT) structure to liaise with the City about this plight and ensure consultation was done appropriately.

The City has since stopped issuing notices until further discussions with residents.

Stakeholder relations manager from the MMC’s office Poppy Louw said the letters were standard contravention notices from their Building Control and Land Use departments.

“However, the notices have been put into effect, following a discussion with the community and pending further engagements,” she said.

She indicated that the intention of the notices was to encourage residents to comply with the City’s bylaws.

The department has participated in extensive engagements, including meetings and workshops, with residents of Cosmo City since November last year to help educate them on the City’s building and land use bylaws to encourage and enhance compliance.

She said the department remains in regular communication with resident and business organisations within the area.

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The chairperson of the newly started CCTT said their committee will communicate with all stakeholders including property owners, residents and the City to communicate these issues.

“All along the City knew that people were building back rooms, why give people the house key and only educate them later?” he asked.

He said their committee would ensure that no one was victimised.

“We need to ensure that there is proper consultation with all residents in our area,” he said.

He said most residents were not aware that a certain procedure should be followed before building houses.

“They cannot demolish other people’s investments. It must be discussed and ensure that there is not any single person who is victimised,” he said.

The committee’s spokesperson, Richard Ranwashe, said they would continue to communicate with the City.

“Some of the homeowners do not work and rely on those houses for income. The issue of back-room houses is all over Gauteng and why only Cosmo City?” asked Ranwashe.

Details: City of Johannesburg, 011 407 6695.

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  AUTHOR
Phathu Luvhengo
Journalist

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