Martie and Kriek Badenhorst have been fighting an ongoing battle ever since a small shopping centre was illegally erected only a few hundred metres from their home, 13 years ago.
It all started when, in 2005, the centre was built on the corner of Peter Road and Beyers Naudé Drive. The centre, which houses a handful of shops, was built without building plan approval from the City of Johannesburg, according to Ward 97 councillor, Leah Knott.
Besides the noise issue that was subsequently caused by the shops, and the opening of the centre gate as early as 4.30am, the grey water that flows into the Badenhorsts’ property has been the biggest problem. The land on which the complex was built was initially level with the Badenhorsts’ property, but when the development went up, so did the ground level, creating a slope directing the grey water directly towards the Badenhorsts’ property.
The flow of water, which gets worse during the rainy season, is directly onto the house, and flows right through the property’s boundary wall. The moisture that’s caused by the water flowing onto the house is so bad that walls have started peeling, tiles have fallen off the walls, kitchen sinks have had to be replaced and cracks have formed on the outer walls.
The damage that has been caused in the last 13 years is immense, with the Badenhorsts having spent hundreds of thousands of rand on repairs, yet every few years, if not months, they have to repair yet again. They were forced to build small terraces in the back yard to try and direct the flow of water away from the house, but it then flows into their bird cages.
The sewerage that flows down from the development not only affects the house however, it also flows onto the portion of their property where they used to house livestock. But, due to the contamination from the sewerage and grey water, the livestock failed to survive.
Their case has been taken to, looked at, taken up by, investigated by, and just about anything by just about everyone, from the DA’s Speaker of council in Johannesburg, Vasco da Gama, to Johannesburg Water, to the Johannesburg Roads Agency – the list just goes on. The case has outlived two ward councillors and is now onto its third in Leah Knott.
The matter has been taken to court on countless occasions, but every time the efforts are far from fruitful. Kriek has long since retired, and he and Martie will not be able to keep repairing the house at the current cost.
Martie and Kriek have been searching for a solution to their endless problem, but 13 years after the problem started, they’re no closer than they were before.
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