The City of uMhlathuze Municipality is moving mountains to make sure that the people of the City as well as their health, and that of the environment is protected at all costs.
In recent months, various properties were unlawfully stockpiling substances such as coal, chromium, Sulphur and Salt which is specifically prohibited in terms of the uMhlathuze Land Use Scheme Regulations. The scheme regulations set out the procedures and conditions relating to the use and development of land in any zone within the municipality. The properties in question are not zoned for stockpiling and as such renders this activity as unlawful.
Each property has different occupiers and owners. As such the municipality proceeded to launch 7 Urgent Applications with the Durban High Court, separating each ERF. This fact necessitated the preparation of a schedule identifying the owners and addresses and how the various properties were split up.
In each application the municipality is seeking the following relief.
â€¢ An interdict restraining the owners/occupiers from using the property for any purpose other than in accordance with the permitted usages as specifically recorded in the zoning certificate,
â€¢ Receiving or allowing to be received on to the property any delivery of any noxious material or prohibited product;
â€¢ Allowing any third party to deliver or to store on the property any noxious substance in contravention of the zoning certificate;
â€¢ Allow this municipality to take all steps necessary to remove all noxious products from the property within 10 days of the grant of this order.
â€¢ Directed to immediately appoint an Environmental Waste Management Company to provide a report on the status of the property and to undertake the rehabilitation of the property with an Environmental Waste Management Company.
In summary, the basis for our interdicts is simply based on the contravention by the various land owners and occupiers of the uMhlathuze Town Planning Scheme, in that stock piling is prohibited in terms of the scheme in the areas identified in the schedule above.
On Monday the first two applications were lodged at the Durban High Court and in both matters the parties reached an agreement and the Court Ordered (By Consent).
The respondents have undertaken not to accept delivery or deposit any further bulk metallurgical coke or any other bulk materials as defined in the Umhlathuze single land use Regulations at Portion 3 of Erf 1819 and Erf 1820.
The respondents shall remove all materials referred to in paragraph1 by no later than 15 February 2023, failing which they to deliver an affidavit setting out the force majeure which has delayed the removal.
The matter is adjourned sine die, and the costs are reserved.
The volume of the stock will take time to remove and the municipality agreed to the respondents request to the deadline being reasonable.
The City Manager Mr Nkosenye Zulu and Councillor Botha attended the proceedings and consulted extensively with the legal team. Strict instructions were given to enforce the deadline. The other items of the relief will be addressed after the 15th of February 2023.
The City of uMhlathuze has committed to establish a task team to carefully monitor the progress in removing the stock piles to meet the deadline.
The City Manager, Mr Nkosenye Zulu, has made it clear that his administration will not hesitate to take legal action against companies or individuals who continue to run unlawful businesses after being instructed to seize operations.
He has also stated that these companies have caused lot of discomfort and inflicting financial losses on other businesses. Alton is covered under coal dust and subject those working in the area to health risks. Some companies are only interested in making huge profits and careless about the environment, rules & regulations and the wellbeing of other businesses. The Municipality is looking forward to similar outcomes for the remaining 5 applications.
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