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Johannesburg - The controversial Gupta family compound’s house extensions will be placed under scrutiny by a team of planning experts and building inspectors over alleged violations of building regulations.
This emerged at this week’s hearing where the Gupta family have applied to the City of Johannesburg to amend their previously approved building plan on one of their properties to consolidate two sites and simultaneously re-subdivide in order to comply with zoning provisions.
The Saturday Star reported last week that parts of the property in Saxonwold could be torn down to “revert back to the original approved state” if the council’s tribunal dismissed the Guptas’ rezoning application.
One resident claimed to this newspaper that the size of the building footprint was 170m2 more than was allowed in terms of the Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme.
Other violations included height restrictions, violations of the Architects Act and the number of dwelling units per site.
Council spokesman Nthatise Modingoane said this week that the tribunal hearing committee had agreed to conduct a site inspection first “before considering the merits of the application”.
“The request was granted and the matter will now be reconvened on October 7,” he said.
The Gupta family has drawn the ire of their neighbours for “illegal” building extensions they have made that residents have derided as “ugly” and “not in keeping with the character” of the upmarket suburb.
Residents said the building plans were initially submitted in May 2009 for a new dwelling in Saxonwold Drive. They were approved within a month, which “astonished” many.
Further plans were submitted for internal alterations in March 2010 and approved in April 2010. Then, a third plan was submitted due to “deviations” undertaken that did not comply with the previously approved plan.
Residents then appointed their own building professionals who investigated the extensions and discovered the plans had been “incorrectly approved” by the council.
After further investigations, the council withdrew the approved plan and issued an order for work to cease.
“But this was ignored by the Guptas and the building continued to completion,” a resident told the Saturday Star.
Tim Truluck, a councillor for areas including Saxonwold, said it was important that a site inspection was conducted by the tribunal with town planners representing the Guptas and residents.
Modingoane said the family had been granted conditional temporary occupation if their application is successful.
Another of the Guptas’ properties which was valued at R490 000 in the updated valuation roll, down from R16.89m in 2008, is still being reviewed by the municipal valuer.
City’s spokesman on revenue Stan Maphologela said the review is expected to be completed by March.