White River Ratepayers Association warns against Kingsview development

Water pipes at the residential development have been left uncovered.

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The WRRA demanded services to be upgraded first, including a new school for the area, before any new development is constructed.

The White River Ratepayers Association (WRRA) said it would not allow the new residential development of 200 houses in Kingsview to go ahead until proper public participation had been called for.

The WRRA’s chairperson, Piet Skead, said they are demanding that the developer rehabilitate the area before the onset of the rainy season, as many trenches were dug up and abandoned. This will result in much soil flowing into the river and causing additional problems.

“We are not against the new development, but we are worried that the right procedures were not followed. The area is in a wetland and it is not safe to erect residential units. We are glad that they stopped working in the area, but they left in a mess with water pipes and sewer lines damaged. We are also worried that mosquitos will torment the residents. So we want the municipality to call the developer to rehabilitate the area,” Skead said.

He also said there are valid reasons why they are opposing the new development. These include the fact that there are not enough schools, no proper water system is in place to accommodate more than 200 additional units, the electricity supply is already under strain and the sewer network is dilapidated.

“The municipality needs to upgrade the services first before adding more schools in the area, and they should look for another safer place to build homes. We are not going to allow any development and are prepared to fight the plans in court to stop that,” he said.

The City of Mbombela’s municipal manager, Wiseman Khumalo, responded to the WRRA. Lowvelder is in possession of the letter. In it, he said no amendment of land use requires public consultation and that Kingsview Ext 1 is zoned for residential purposes. The Mbombela Land Use Scheme of 2019 was compiled taking into consideration the existing Land Use Rights (LUR) of properties of the previous White River Town Planning Scheme of 1985.

Water pipes at the residential development have been left uncovered.

Based on the existing LUR, no environmental impact assessment is required in terms of the provisions of the National Environmental Management Act.  The letter further said that based on the existing proclaimed LUR, there is no requirement to obtain input or comments from the community or ward councillor for the envisaged development as long as it complies with the LUR.

The developer submitted a site development plan (SDP) and a building plan number was issued – 2020/00245. The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act does not provide for public consultation during the consideration of the building plans.

“At this stage, comments from internal departments such as water and sanitation and roads and storm water do not support the building plans based on the outstanding SDP approval and other technical reasons. If the SDP is approved and the negative comments of the departments are addressed, the plans will be approved and the developer will commence working on-site,” read the letter.

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