The Emmarentia Post, No 12, 11 December 2020
Message from ERA
It’s been a stressful and unusual year for us all. If Covid-19 trends in the Eastern and Western Cape are anything to go by, this pandemic is waking up again and wreaking havoc… Enough said.
Strength to us all through the festive season to continue doing all those things that we all know we must do to keep safe even if we’re just so, so tired of doing them.
To those of you in the frontline fighting the pandemic, thank you for your dedication and selfless work in 2020. Strength and good health to you all to continue doing as you’ve been doing in the New Year.
And to all of us—may 2021 bring us extra energy to face the challenges that the new year will bring us.
Tribunal hears residents’ concerns
On November 11, five years after almost 2500 people objected to a proposed development in Emmarentia, on the land bounded by Barry Hertzog Avenue, Gleneagles and Linden Roads, the City of Joburg called a Tribunal to hear the two sides of the story.
Despite the inclement weather, residents from Emmarentia and Greenside came in their numbers to the site inspection. They listened to what the developer’s lawyers had to say and then they pointed out specific problems with the new build. Linden, Victory Park, Parkview and Parktown North residents also showed their support.
One resident who lives in the townhouses adjacent to Sunny Shell took us upstairs to the view from his balcony. Now a sun-drenched haven in winter, with views to Northcliff, he’s faced with the prospect of a 5 storey-block that will block both of these.
Others pointed out the busy roads on all three sides of the development and the excessive height (5 storeys) that would tower over all neighbouring properties.
Increased traffic will put extra strain on the road infrastructure while numerous concrete parking bays and less ground cover will compound existing stormwater drainage problems.
All residents bemoaned the regular unplanned power outages in the two suburbs. They expressed concern that the proposed development with offices, restaurants and possibly a day hospital with several storeys of apartments comprising 89 flats would put too much strain on the infrastructure which would not cope.
At the Tribunal
After the site inspection, the Tribunal hearing continued in Braamfontein.
ERA and Greenside Residents Association (GRA) were well prepared in large part due to generous donations from residents that enabled ERA to employ specialist lawyers and specialists in infrastructure, road traffic, electricity and retail/market analysis to counter the developer’s arguments. A special thanks to those residents who gave their time and expertise to help us.
At any hearing the objectors get an opportunity to raise points of legal procedure called points in limine, relating to the processes followed. The Tribunal decides on these first, before hearing the merits (or the substance) of the application.
“We raised several important points in limine,” says Gemey Abrahams, ERA’s town planning expert who has been driving this issue. “We argued that the application is void, ab initio (it is stillborn) and should not proceed, that five years have lapsed making it outdated and that not all affected parties would have had the opportunity to participate over that period.”
The Tribunal was adjourned just after 3pm to deliberate on the points in limine. “We are still awaiting their decision,” says Gemey.
“If we are successful with the points in limine arguments, then the hearing on the merits will not continue and the developer will need to make a fresh application. If the hearing continues to hear the merits of the case, it will resume on 22 January 2021.”
Thank you to all those generous residents that donated to ERA and GRA to fight this battle. So far Emmarentia residents have donated just more than R45 000 while Greenside has donated R35 000.
These donations were almost enough to cover the lawyers’ and the specialist experts’ costs of R80 000. If the City goes ahead with the Tribunal in January, we expect to incur about another R80 000 in lawyers’ fees and specialist fees. We appeal to residents to help us cover these costs. (see page 4 for banking details)
“The GRA is grateful to be working alongside our neighbours in Emmarentia,” says Judith Ancer, chairperson of GRA. “We want to make our significant and ongoing concerns heard about the nature and scale of the proposed development. We see it as the duty of GRA to maintain the primary residential character and amenity of our suburb, to protect residents and existing businesses from encroachment by predatory commercial developments, unsustainable demands on infrastructure, increase in traffic and degradation of the natural environment.”
“We are actively objecting to the development on behalf of the residents and will continue to do so over the Festive Season so as not to lose momentum,” says Gemey.
Reminder—Donate to take on the developer:
If you want to donate to ERA so we can take on the developer pay to: Emmarentia Residents Association, Nedbank; A/c: 1975051173; Branch Code: 198765.
E-mail POP to:
email@example.com— “Tribunal” and your surname as reference please.
STOP PRESS ON THE TRIBUNAL
Since this newsletter went to print, the CoJ has given its judgement on the points in limine that ERA and GRA had raised on behalf of objectors at the Tribunal that met on 11 November. Gemey Abrahams, ERA’s town planner explains the implications of this judgement:
The hearing began with the objectors presenting legal and procedural reasons for the application to not proceed. These are called points in limine.
The tribunal heard the counter-argument on the points in limine from the applicant and by that time it was mid-afternoon. The Tribunal requested an adjournment to consider both sides of the argument and arrive at a decision on these points in limine.
None of the fuller arguments around the merits of the development had at that stage been heard. (A tribunal hearing always has the two parts to it where first the procedural points are argued to establish whether the application is legally competent to proceed, followed by the fuller, substantive issues arguments).
We have now received the written decision from the Chairperson of the tribunal on these legal, procedural points which you can find on https://era.org.za/tribunal-on-mixed-use-development-to-resume-january-2021/
The implications and outcomes of this decision is that we will continue the tribunal hearing on the 22 January 2020 to hear the full, merit-based (e.g. the suitability of the development) arguments. All of us have waited five years to present these arguments to the applicant and the tribunal! (You can also find the Notice of the hearing on 22 January 2021 here https://era.org.za/tribunal-on-mixed-use-development-to-resume-january-2021/
You are welcome as objectors, to attend this continuance of the hearing and we are very appreciative of all the efforts of residents who have objected, given of their time and expertise, made donations and supported this long struggle against the development. We assure you that we are taking the concerns of residents into consideration in the arguments ahead.
Two people who are no strangers to Emmarentia are seamstress Ethel Mothapo and cobbler Elvis Chabalala. Many of you will know them from Happy Harry’s Dry Cleaners in Greenhill Road where they worked for more than 20 years. Lockdown ended their jobs.
However, they didn’t give up. They were used to Emmarentia. It had become their work space; they knew their customers and they had more than 25 years of experience in their respective skills (Elvis first learnt his skill fixing leather horse straps in Krugersdorp 50 years ago).
Ethel knew all the landlords of the business premises in Emmarentia and she and Elvis managed to secure a work space of their own. Find Dolphin Dry Cleaners in Luzi Lane, just around the corner from the Cheese Basket in Komatie Road. They also do dry cleaning.
They feature on the WOZA App in the ‘Buy Local’ section and have Felicity Gratz-Lawlor’s support and numerous other residents. Call them on 083 670 4489 and get a quote today. Their service is professional and competitive.
- Speed hump on Olifants Road creates division
Although a handful of residents have complained to ERA about the “speed hump” on Olifants Road, others like cyclists and pedestrians have welcomed it.
Jozi Trails, a cycling club that patrols the spruit to keep it safe, approached JRA to install it to protect cyclists, walkers, dog walkers and runners crossing the road to enter the Botanical Gardens.
According to JRA, it is not a speed hump but a “raised pedestrian crossing”. As such it doesn’t have to comply with speed hump regulations.
ERA forwarded residents’ concerns to the councillor. If you’re still unhappy with the pedestrian crossing, please send us your proposals on what should be done to firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember: the South African rules of the road say “the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to yield to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a pedestrian crossing, when the pedestrian is upon that half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is travelling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.”
- Cellphone snatching continues
Out of back pockets, off restaurant tables, out of your hands, the cellphone snatchers are still at it. They’re fast and often work with a getaway car. It means that often they’re long gone when you register your phone has gone.
Moreover, Geraldine Connell, chair of the Parkview CPF, warns that those “stealing the phones … use the apps on the phone to access the victims’ bank accounts and in some cases have emptied those bank accounts.”
Remember, as soon as your cell phone is stolen, block access to all your bank accounts and report the theft to SAPS.
- Attacks in the park
There were a number of attacks in the park in Emmarentia during November, especially in the southwestern end bordered by Judith and Beyers Naude in the forested section.
City Parks has stationed a security vehicle in the area until about 5.30pm and is closing all gates at 6pm to discourage people from walking after the security has left. Please be careful.
If you get locked out of the park after 6pm, exit the park through the Olifants Road or Rose Garden exits.
Sprucing up the east bank of the dam
- Please donate gum poles
Recently there has been some concern over fishermen and others driving over the pavement onto the east bank of the dam where they park their vehicles, put up tents and sometimes remain there over the weekend. This is damaging the grass, raising noise levels and exuberance.
With the festive season almost upon us, ERA is requesting donations for gum poles so that the Let’s Work team can cement erect treated gum pole bollards into the ground. These will be installed from the canoe club up to the Louw Geldenhuys entrance to the park.
Felicity estimates that it will cost about R15 000 for the gum poles and cement. R150 will buy one pole. We will mention the names of all sponsors, should they choose, in this newsletter and on our website.
Donate to Let’s Work to get it happening —see story at the end for banking details. (Reference: gum poles)
Just a reminder that fishermen need a licence to fish at the dam. You can buy a licence at the post office.
We appeal to all using the dam during the festive season to try and keep the noise levels down. People live right next to the dam and their rights need to be respected as well.
If behaviour at the dam becomes unruly or there is too much noise, please call:
JMPD—011 375 5911
Telkom Mast on Marico Road
The case is still pending after an out of court settlement could not be reached.
Who to call?
· any bylaw infringement phone JMPD—011 375 5911
· Any attack/crime incident phone – SAPS—011 067 6038
CITY OF JOBURG NEWS
· Report illegal land use zoning etc
Report illegal land use zoning contraventions, additions, alterations, building development, building-signage, outdoor advertising related issues to
Or send to Felicity, When you report you must include your:
- Name and Surname
- Contact details
- E-mail address
- Street Address
- Erven/ Stand number
- Nature of Complaint reported: please be as detailed as possible.
Attach Annexure if necessary
Please copy email@example.com so that we are also aware of the problem.
· Report power outages
Please report any electricity outages as soon as you can. The faster we report and the more reports City Power gets, the easier it is for them to isolate which area is the problem and to send a technician. Download the MyCity Power mobile app for free from Google Play Store or Apple iStore.
· Report illegal electricity connections
If you suspect that someone may be connecting their electricity illegally, please e-mail Malcolm de Lange at City Power on firstname.lastname@example.org Please include the street address as well as the nearest corner and if possible a photo. Please copy email@example.com
Remember, connecting illegally puts the rest of the grid under pressure and can lead to our old infrastructure like the mini sub-stations (TSS) blowing up.
· BEWARE – electricity and water disconnections
Felicity Gratz-Lawlor advises that City Power/Joburg Water do not call ahead to tell you they are coming to disconnect due to non-payment. They are *supposed* to give you a pre-termination letter (but this doesn’t always happen).
If someone does call and claim you owe money and they are going to disconnect you – please send their number to Felicity Gratz-Lawlor (Ward 88’s ward committee representative in charge of infrastructure) on 082 568 1783.
Felicity speaks of a case where a Mr Smith called a resident threatening disconnection but when Felicity called the number it most definitely was not Mr Smith from City Power. “They were obviously hoping the resident would pay them not to disconnect,” she warns.
Potholes growing by the day
On November 3 2020 JRA announced a 6-week catch-up plan to deal with a backlog of 48 000 potholes. This was before massive downpours added to that huge number. And this number excludes the reinstatements (repairs that Joburg Water has done on roads or on pavements that JRA then needs to cover with bitumen) and the clearing of stormwater kerb inlets that weren’t attended to during lockdown.
Although the catch-up plan was meant to start in Regions A, B (Emmarentia falls in Region B) and E, we’re still waiting for them to fix the reinstatements on Komatie near the mosque, on Umtata and others.
Please report new potholes and other defects by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Damage or injury caused by poorly maintained road infrastructure
If you have been injured in an accident or your car has been damaged and you believe these are linked to JRA’s road infrastructure, download the claim form from JRA here https://www.jra.org.za/documents/Public_Liability_Claim_2020.pdf and e-mail to email@example.com
· Joburg Water
In terms of the service delivery agreement signed with the City of Joburg, Joburg Water is meant to fix water leaks within 48 hours of it being reported.
Please keep reporting leaks, burst pipes, sewerage leaks by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Specify clearly where the leak is—the street address, nearest corner and the suburb. They will send you a reference number. If it’s still not fixed after 2 days, please forward details to:
· Libraries still closed for lending
According to Joburg libraries’ Facebook page, “the City of Johannesburg public libraries remained closed in line with health and safety protocols.”
You can return your books from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 12:00 and 13:00 and 16:00 but you can’t take any new ones out.
· Pikitup’s new Call Centre
Operating between 8am to 4.30pm, you can get them on 010 055 5590. Phone them for Skip + household bins, bin replacement, bulk waste (eg your old mattress, stove so it doesn’t end up in the park—it’s a free service, don’t pay the driver!) illegal dumping etc.
A Plea to dog-walkers
With sponsorship from Tyson Properties and the sanction of City Parks, ERA has managed to get a board erected at the Orange Road entrance to the park.
Huge thanks go to Tyson Properties for organising it and getting it installed. Now please can dog-walkers do what is requested of them?
If any businesses would like to sponsor dog poop bags please e-mail email@example.com
“House of Horrors” exposed in Emmarentia
Hidden behind high walls and tall trees, inspectors from SPCA and SAPS Parkview recently raided a house in Emmarentia where a member of the public had reported that animals were being kept in cages under inhumane conditions.
More than 150 exotic animals were discovered ranging from chinchillas, hamsters, rats, mice, guinea pigs to parrots, a red-eared slider and a boa constrictor.
According to the SPCA, “dozens of chinchillas were seen stacked on top of each other in utter darkness and the stench of ammonia, nearly knocked both inspectors off their feet.”
Some of the neglected and petrified animals were in such bad condition that they had to be euthanased.
A special thanks to the whistleblower for saving so many animals. Criminal charges are being investigated.
Keep supporting Let’s Work
Whether it’s cleaning our parks, cutting weeds and grass from the TSS’s (mini sub-stations) or removing rubble, the Let’s Work Team continues to do sterling work to keep our suburbs clean. They rely on your generous donations to keep doing their job. See box below for bank details and to donate money for the Gum Pole fence on the dam.
Want to receive this newsletter direct to your e-mail? – click here: https://era.org.za/subscribe/
If you are not yet a member of ERA, but want to join: Subscriptions for 2020/2021 are: R350 per annum per household (R200 for over 65s); R950 for businesses. Pay to: Emmarentia Residents Association, Nedbank; A/c: 1975051173; Branch Code: 198765. E-mail POP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Reference: surname and telephone number) together with your completed membership form. Download a membership form https://era.org.za/join-era/