Tshwane office closures ‘delaying’ construction industry
According to the City, although the offices in all seven regions remained closed, officials were working remotely to evaluate all applications within the system.
The City was reacting to concerns by some in the construction industry that they were forced to put on hold plans to build new properties or reconstruct existing ones due to delays by the City to approve building plans.
They were unhappy that despite the fact that the government allowed them to resume construction work under level 3, they could not embark on new projects.
City spokesperson Selby Bokaba said: “There is no backlogs of building plan and site development plan applications as all applications within the systems were evaluated from home.”
Asked about the impact of closing the offices on the construction sector, he said: “We assume that lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on all sectors including the construction sector.”
There were also concerns that the closure of offices would affect the sales and purchase of properties across the city.
Bokaba said: “Like most citizens, we believe that the lockdown will negatively affect most economic sectors, including the property market.”
The offices were closed in line with the government’s imposed lockdown “to assist in flattening the Covid-19 curve and comply with regulations at various levels by allowing officials to work from home”, according to Bokaba.
“We are responding to complaints and conducting mandatory building inspections,” he added.
The building control offices, he said, would only be reopened once various buildings have complied with Covid-19 regulations.
The report on the state of readiness of the office was expected to be tabled at the executive committee meeting yesterday.
Bokaba said once the clearance certificate was issued, the City would announce the reopening of offices.
Tshwane DA mayoral candidate Randall Williams expressed worries that the office’s closure was likely to result in backlogs in planning approvals.
“City planning and building control processes have been compromised, with some offices not even functioning, which will likely generate month-long backlogs in planning approvals, severely impacting the construction sector,” he said.
The sale and purchasing of houses across the city were also delayed by the rates clearance process, “which has become unresponsive due to failure to issue certificates”.
“This has left many residents trapped and unable to make significant lifestyle changes because they are waiting on an unresponsive bureaucracy,” Williams said.