Congratulations were in order when 11 officials from the Town Planning and Environmental Management Division as they received their certificates of proficiency for completing their training as Peace Officers in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977).
According to the George Municipality’s Director of Human Settlement, Planning and Development and Property Management, Lauren Waring, Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1977 (Act 51 of 1977) allows the Minister of Justice to declare certain categories of people to be peace officers, with certain powers. “A peace officer may exercise his or her powers in the area of jurisdiction of the local authority, who made the appointment. A peace officer may also exercise some of his or her powers on “public premises under the control of the local authority which appointed him,” Waring said.
“These Peace Officers are responsible for enforcing approved municipal bylaws relevant to their departments as well as the National Building Regulations. The bylaws applicable include, but are not limited to land use planning by-laws, zoning scheme bylaws, building regulations and related building control bylaws, outdoor advertising bylaws and environmental legislation. Once these officials received SAPS clearance, they will be sworn in by the SAPS Commissioner.”
Waring added: “The appointment of peace officers is one of the priorities the Directorate identified to improve the efficiency in the management of land development activities. This goes hand in hand with an application for approval of fines as submitted to the Chief Magistrate, as well as 5 additional posts to be filled by the end of the year to raise the capacity of the departments to enforce the planning and construction-related by-laws.”
Illegal land use and construction activities negatively impact municipal services at the expense of the law-abiding citizen. Landowners who engage in illegal activity act irresponsibly by not allowing the municipality to exercise oversight over their activities and protect the public interest. The municipality spends more than R7 million per annum on redressing illegal activity, which adds to the losses these perpetrators incur on the municipal coffers. The Directorate is committed to its task of ensuring quality living environments and fiscal sustainability is upheld. The work of these Peace Officers will contribute to the achievement of this objective.
Citizens are encouraged to report suspected illegal land use and construction activities by using the My Smart City – George App, launched at the start of this month and report any issues with the app to email@example.com.
PHOTO 1: Front row, from left: Martin Botha (Town Planner); James Vollenhoven (Assistant Building Control Officer); Delia Power (Deputy Director: Planning and Environment), Fakazile Vava (Town Planner), Eddie Koeberg (Assistant Building Control Officer)
Back row, from left: Luthando Fatyela (Assistant Building Control Officer), Priscilla Burgoyne (Environmental Officer, also accredited EMI), Clinton Petersen (Senior Manager: Town Planning), Lauren Waring (Director), Fickerie Toyer (Manager: Building Control), Khuliso Mukhovha (Town Planner), Robert Janse van Rensburg (Town Planner), absent … Robin Hector (Assistant Town Planner); Mkhululi Nyeka (Assistant Building Control Officer); Stephen Saunders (Building Control Officer).