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The City has told owners of vacant land turned into dumping sites that if they don’t clean up their rubbish, City Parks will – and send them the bill.

The City will clean up vacant land and send the bill to the ownerThe City will clean up vacant land and send the bill to the ownerTHE City has issued an ultimatum to owners of open land left unkempt: they must clean up – or the City will do it, and send them the bill.

In many instances these properties are turned into dumping sites, posing a health hazard to their immediate communities.

The deputy director in the environmental health directorate, Nic Van Deventer, announced that officials from the department will be conducting inspections on identified properties that have become eyesores. He said the owners should take responsibility to ensure that no illegal activity, including illegal dumping, takes place on their properties.

"You cannot have people dumping rubbish everywhere. Owners should fence their properties to prevent any illegal act," said Van Deventer.

The clean-up programme is expected to be completed by May.

Deadline
Van Deventer warned that the City will act decisively against those who do not comply. "Properties which are not cleaned by the end of the set deadline will then be cleared by Johannesburg City Parks at the owners' cost." The owner will be charged through rates and taxes accounts.

Notices will be issued to non-compliant owners, and they will be required to clean their properties as required by the Council within a 21-day period from the issue of the notice. Officials will conduct physical supervision on the properties.

"The owners of vacant properties have a duty to ensure that their properties are at all times maintained in a clean and tidy condition, free of public health nuisances, hazards and risks and accumulations of refuse, rubble and other matter, and to ensure that the long grass and weeds are cut," said Van Deventer.

Owners of vacant properties are also advised to fence off their properties, in order to prevent illegal dumping, littering, and vagrants and criminals from gaining access.

The clean-up programme is the department's drive to eliminate rodent infestation which has become a cause for concern in many communities.

Campaign
In an endeavor to rid the city of rodents, Nonceaba Molwele, the member of the mayoral community responsible for health and human development, has launched a campaign to curb rodent infestation. The Owl Box Project has already been rolled out in areas such as Alexandra township.

Through the project, owls' nests have been built at a number of schools, where learners will be educated in the value of owls to control the rodent population. In a month's time, a number of owls will be released into the area to prey on rodents. Experts believe that the owls will eventually multiply.

"The City of Johannesburg takes the protection, conservation and enhancement of its environment seriously and is calling on member of the community to refrain from illegal dumping of refuse and waste on vacant stands and open spaces," said Molwele.

Community members are urged to report offending property owners who fail to comply with the ultimatum to the regional environmental health offices on 011 407 6494/6545.

Source: Joburg.org.za