A controversial P25 million shopping complex in Mochudi will be demolished, 10 years after completion, without having been occupied at any point.
The Kgatleng District Council proudly awaits a demolition order from the High Court and will begin to bring down the massive Mochudi Shopping complex.
Mochudi Wholesalers attorney, on the other hand, claims to have engaged a team of professionals in erecting the building only to find that requirements of the Building Control Act were not met.
“It is unfortunate that the council has long decided that the complex should be demolished soon after its completion some years ago,” Tona Mooketsi, Council Chairman, told The Sunday Standard.
Mooketsi could not yet ascertain the date on which the building will be brought down since it should be in accordance with the court order which the council awaits.
He explained that the matter was reported to the Office of the President, who, at the time, was former president Festus Mogae. It was then heard by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal which still ruled in the council’s favour. However both parties were then given room to negotiate.
“The decision that the council took was purely not based on political influence as some people may think and we don’t want this matter to be politicized,” said Mooketsi.
The fact of the matter is that the structure was never inspected by the council and there was no way the council could issue an occupational permit for a building whose safety and suitability the Council could not establish.
He argued that the awarding of an occupational certificate by the council means that the council has established that it is safe for occupation, whatever accident results from structural defects will hold the council accountable. Certificates are only awarded based on evidence of inspection.
“We have been discussing with Mochudi Wholesalers management but there are certain issues that we are still trying to iron out before we make the final decision,” said Kgatleng Council Secretary, Nelson Mogapi.
He revealed that he was not at liberty to reveal issues that are still being discussed.
“By the end of this month, the public will know what decision the council has taken regarding the building,” he said, stressing that the council cannot grant the wholesale an occupational permit.
Meanwhile, according to the council report passed to this publication and dated 28th of May 2013, the full council meeting held between 18 and 27th of March 2013 appointed a negotiation task force comprising of five councilors, Deputy Council Secretary and a battalion of experts; namely Chief Principal Planning and Estate Management Officer, Chief Mechanical Engineering Officer, Principal Road Engineer, Chief Architectural and Building Services Officer, Principal Structural Engineer, Quantity Surveyor and Council Attorney to negotiate with Mochudi Wholesalers on behalf of the Council.
The report revealed that advocate Sidney Pilane submitted that Enamoolla Khan, the Managing Director of the wholesalers, engaged a team of professionals, comprising of architects, and assumed that they will do their work diligently only to find out that some things were not done accordingly, acknowledging failure to fulfill the requirements of the act, and that there is no justification for the failure to meet the prescribed requirements.
The report further indicated that Pilane also acknowledged that the Peter Cotter report showed some discrepancies which his client attended to.
After putting his case on the table, Pilane pleaded with council to issue the wholesalers with occupational permit.
The report states that Pilane pleaded with the council pointing out the benefits that would come with the issuance of the permit. He added that the appellant has invested about P25 million in the construction of the building and a further P10m was spent on renovating the structure with a further loss in terms of business due to the delay of insurance occupation permit.
However, in response to advocate Pilane’s submission, the Deputy Council Secretary, Jayson Sechele, said the Council can not establish the structural stability of the building due to the fact that no inspections to ascertain the same were carried out and no building permits were issued at all the stages. He highlighted that roads department’s requirements were not met, there was no step by step inspection of the building by the local authority and drawings were not submitted for inspection and approval as per the procedure.
Deputy Council secretary stressed no life is worth any amount of money and the council cannot risk the lives of so many people.
Sechele told the appellant that the council cannot issue an occupation permit.
The report stated that the decision has been communicated to the Ministry of Lands and Housing, Ministry of Local Government as well as the Attorney General.
The building was completed sometime around 2003 since then it has never been issued with occupational permit.