BYLAWS TOUGH TO BEAT FOR ILLEGAL PANEL BEATERS
By: Gift Nyamapfene
The city has threatened to shut down illegal panel beaters.
According to eThekwini Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa, the clash is part of the Clean and Maintain My City initiative. The operation is aimed at tackling issues including by-law infringements, derelict buildings, litter, pollution and social ills.
The municipality’s Head of Development Planning, Environment and Management Unit, Musa Mbhele said that six owners of the illegal panel beating premises were given final written notices to shut down their businesses.
“The business owners were required to produce evidence that their businesses are legal, and they failed which means those businesses will be shut down. If they persist to operate illegally they could be prosecuted or arrested,” said Mbhele.
Mamoud Punusamy who has an informal garage in Glenwood said, “The process of making the business formal is a big challenge and the profits are too low.”
“Illegal panel beating must be dealt with but at the same time they seriously need to consider issues like high unemployment as well before shutting people’s businesses,” said Punusamy who has eight employees in his garage.
The illegal operations include spray-painting preparations, servicing, fitting, panel beating and mechanical repairs.
Mthethwa said, “The Municipality also reserves the right to pursue an application in the High Court in terms of an Urgent Prevention Order, which may result in hefty fines issued to illegal operators and negligent landlords.”
A penalty of either a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or both could be handed down to offending operations.
Summons amounting to R5000 may be served and this excludes the institution of an illegal Rate Code on the premises, which may be equivalent to a rating of five times the standard rating.
Panel beaters who have been given notices to shut down their businesses were given 30 days to make a written representation to the Municipality on how they will comply.