'Mole on our mountain'

Posted On Tuesday, 21 September 2010 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Magaliesberg residents are dragging a property developer to court for plonking a lodge in their environmentally sensitive area.

 

Boitumelo Tshwene

In the Mafikeng High Court next week, the Magaliesberg Protection Association will face off against Jan Ntemane, who is building the multimillion-rand Kgaswane Country Lodge in the Magaliesberg Protected Environment area.

The association wants the court to stop him building the upmarket lodge, which is nearly completed.

It has asked that he be ordered to demolish it entirely and restore the mountain he built it on.

The chairman of the association, Paul Fatti, said everything about the lodge was "wrong".

The property was in a protected area and neither an environmental impact assessment was conducted nor were building plans submitted before construction began.

"Apart from the threat that this development poses to the integrity of the Magaliesberg Protected Environment area, it also threatens the initiative for the Greater Magaliesberg region to be declared a biosphere under the Unesco charter, which the association was pursuing in conjunction with the environmental departments in North West and Gauteng," he said.

Fatti said that should his organisation lose the battle, the floodgates would open for other developers.

But the stakes are equally high for Ntemane, who risks having the millions he has invested in the property reduced to rubble.

Fatti said: "A subsequent communication with officials from the North West department of agriculture, conservation and environment revealed that it had only recently become aware of this illegal development and was . prosecuting the developer."

He said Ntemane had applied for construction of the lodge and conducted an environmental impact assessment only after the association had spotted his lodge in June 2008.

In March last year, Fatti's group learned that the department had approved Ntemane's application and it appealed that decision to then North West environment MEC Jan Serfontein.

But incumbent MEC Boitumelo Tshwene dismissed the appeal in February.

Tshwene's spokesman, Bonolo Mohlakoana said: "As you are already aware, the court hearing on the matter will be on the 30th of this month, so since the subject is still sub judice, we will not be able to comment."

Ntemane could not be reached for comment.

Last modified on Monday, 19 May 2014 09:20

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