Seeing red.

Posted On Wednesday, 09 April 2003 02:00 Published by
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Midrand developers and businesses say the council's red tape is holding back development in the area.

Midrand developers and businesses say the council's red tape is holding back development in the area - once regarded as the fastest-growing region in Gauteng.

They have been facing lengthy delays in the approval of building plans and the issuing of rates-clearance certificates - needed before a property can be sold - since Midrand merged with Joburg Metro.

In June last year developers formed a Midrand Developers' Forum and had a meeting to discuss their problems with the local councillor.

DA councillor Andrew Speirs said the area east of the Midrand highway was suffering because of a lack development.

He is organising a workshop with the council and developers to try to solve the problems.

"I don't want us to be like other CBDs which have gone down in ways that can't be reversed," he said.

The Midrand Chamber of Commerce said the rate of applications being processed had slowed down.

"It used to take a month to get plans approved by the Midrand council, but now it can be about a year," said Camilla Hudson, the president of the chamber.

After the local government elections in 1999, Midrand merged with Joburg to form one "megacity".

That has meant that all planning and development services have been centralised into one administration, run from Jorissen Street in Joburg.

According to Midrand developers, that has led to poor service.

"The policy of Midrand council was to encourage development. We had less administration work to deal with before," said Ian Hanson, a Midrand residential developer.

He said there were also delays in getting rates-clearance certificates.

Welf Eybers, director of Web Consultant, a town-planning consulting firm, has worked with many developers in Midrand.

He said residential development in Midrand was "still going strong" but commercial development had dropped because of an oversupply of offices.

However, he agreed that since Midrand merged with Joburg there had been "serious problems".

"The Joburg Council is just too big and ill-equipped. They are losing revenue. There is gross incompetence."

The council admitted that complaints from developers were not unfounded.

"There has been a backlog with the approval of building plans but it is being attended to," said Gina Zanti, deputy director of land use.

"There will be a complete change from May because there will be a new system."

Sunday Times

Publisher: Sunday Times
Source: Sunday Times

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