Couple being forced out of home by foul generator smoke, noise pollution complaints

Sven Wolf and Megan Jacobs outside the generator room directly below their apartment. Picture: Mwangi Githahu/CAPE ARGUS

Sven Wolf and Megan Jacobs outside the generator room directly below their apartment. Picture: Mwangi Githahu/CAPE ARGUS

Published Sep 2, 2023


Cape Town - The increased load shedding is forcing a couple out of their home of 10 years.

Not because they are afraid of the dark, but because when the power cuts start, their building’s generator, which is directly below their apartment, kicks in with noise, vibrations and diesel smoke that feeds straight into their apartment, making it uninhabitable.

Sven Wolf and Megan Jacobs, who live in the Wembley Square residential apartment complex in Gardens, have complained several times to their body corporate, but to no avail.

Wolf and Jacobs said the officials of that body, as well as the Wembley Residential Trustees have ignored and sidelined them, even to the point of removing them from the community Facebook page to stop them from commenting on the issue.

“The vibrational effect of the generator reverberates through the bedroom and the fumes have secondary effects, which have resulted in anxiety, loss of sleep and breathing problems.

“After numerous complaints to the body corporate, very little has been done to resolve the issue, as we are still affected.”

The couple say when load shedding is severe, they have been forced to seek shelter in guest houses.

The Cape Argus approached the body corporate twice in the last 10 days for comment, but they did not respond to our queries.

Contacted for comment on the situation, co-principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s Realty in the Southern Suburbs and False Bay, Arnold Maritz, said: “Essentially, this situation is not only impacting their quality of life, the smoke is also potentially damaging to their health.

“The trustees or body corporate are responsible for managing a complex and resolving issues so they should be approached.

“But, depending on the size of the building or complex, there may be a managing agent and, if so, that would be your first port of call.”

Maritz said if that approach produced no results, or there isn’t a managing agent, the resident should contact the trustees/body corporate and request a meeting to discuss the matter.

“As a last resort, if the body corporate or trustees are unwilling to make the necessary changes, then the resident can go the legal route and appoint a lawyer.”

Mayco member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross said: “If the body corporate does not address the issue of noise or fumes from generator installations, the complainants are welcome to lodge a complaint with the City’s specialised environmental health unit.”

Van der Ross said in the event a violation of the Western Cape noise control regulations or the City’s air quality management by-law was observed, a compliance notice would be served on the chairperson of the body corporate to remedy the matter.

For others suffering similar issues, Van der Ross said: “Noise complaints can be lodged via the generic email address: [email protected] and air pollution complaints can be lodged at: [email protected].”

She said once the complaints had been lodged, the matter would be referred to the air quality management unit for investigation.