Radio station building robs historic temple of sunlight and privacy: officials

By Nadia Khan Time of article published Jul 26, 2019

Share this article:

Durban - TEMPLE officials in Port Elizabeth say their rights to privacy have been infringed, as the construction of a neighbouring four-storey building overshadows the historic worship site.

The governing council at the 118-year-old Shri Siva Subramaniar Aulayam in Baakens Valley, said the building, where the anchor tenant would be Algoa FM, would impact on religious practice and members’ privacy. 

The property, situated in Upper Valley Road, also boasts the 60-year-old Krishna Temple.

Despite the residents being relocated during the Group Areas Act in the 1960s, the temple remained.

The council chairperson, Ramu Naidoo, said he was surprised when, in October last year, grading work started on the vacant land.

But this, he said, was not the first time they have had an issue with regards to the construction of high-rise buildings.

“In 2009, we were made aware of a 13-storey building that was going to be erected. We immediately put in our objections. The company was subsequently declared insolvent and the plans did not go ahead. We were stunned when we learned of this building, and that was only after the builders, who were grading the area, requested the use of the temple’s electricity and water.”

Naidoo said attempts to get clarity from the municipality proved futile.

He said the situation was frustrating.

“Many of the Hindu prayers conducted require the sun, and now we have the massive building looming over the temple. What about our members rights to privacy to conduct their prayers?

Naidoo added that the temple’s members and council would discuss whether to pursue the legal route.

Algoa FM said the project team went to the temple prior to construction and introduced themselves to the priest.

It said the team was unaware the temple was run by a council and there was no legal obligation to contact them.

It stated that design elements were changed to accommodate the concerns raised by the council to foster good relations.

The spokesperson for the Mandela Bay Development Agency, the development arm of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Luvuyo Bangazi, said they did not have the authority to give approval to development plans. “We did not have any say in this matter.”

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had not responded at the time of publication.


Share this article: