The George Municipality confirms the first phase of a court order against Angie’s G-Spot in De Vlugt has been executed on Monday (7 May 2018) following protracted efforts to get the popular bikers’ hangout to comply with National Building Regulations to safeguard lives and property.
George Municipal Manager Trevor Botha said it was decided to execute the court order in two phases to give the respondents a final chance to fulfil certain conditions, including submission of correct building plans – this effectively means they did not have to demolish their living quarters for another 28 days – after which the totality of the court order would be executed.
“The municipality reiterates that the property owners, the Beaumonts, are endangering the lives of their patrons and themselves by not complying with the National Building Regulations and that the municipality is required by law to act against contraventions. The relevant structures stand within the river bed, not just within the 1:50 metre flood line, with no mitigating structures or methods to safeguard it from floods. If it did not act, the municipality may face liability issues in case of flooding that may lead to loss of life and property,” said Mr Botha.
Mr Botha said while the municipality was not aware of other similar structures in De Vlugt that were so far within the riverbed as the Beaumonts’, the same action would be taken against such owners if it did not comply to building regulations and had mitigating mechanisms – such as structures on poles or retaining walls – in place to protect people from floods. “All property owners wanting to erect structures must hand in building plans, which has to comply to certain conditions. An amnesty period for building plans of properties in rural areas expires on 30 June 2018, which means that all owners of buildings on farms and areas such as De Vlugt must submit plans to the municipality by then.”
The George Municipality inherited the case from the Eden District Municipality in 2011, at which time an application for activities associated with accommodation had already been submitted (to Eden and transferred to George). The Eden DM documentation referred to structures that had been illegally erected on the neighbouring state-owned property as well as the illegal operation of a business that did not have the required rezoning.
The Eden DM had at the time of the application indicated to the owners that the type of application Angie’s G-Spot had made (for accommodation-related activities) was the wrong type of application, but the application had not been amended accordingly and the George Municipality had no choice but to reject the application. To this day no formal building plans have been submitted to George Municipality. Plans that were shown to officials in no way reflected the structures on the property and there were several environmental and safety conditions to which they failed to comply.
In 2015, after municipal officials explained to the Beaumonts on numerous occasions what their responsibilities were in terms of relevant legislation and given ample opportunities to comply, a High Court order was issued for the demolition of the illegal structures. Execution of the court order had been delayed following appeals for help from outside parties, in the name of tourism development, but upon review of the court documents in this regard, the legal decisions were upheld. “The execution of this court order had been delayed long enough and the Beaumonts given ample opportunity to comply, which they had not. While the municipality is mindful of the importance of tourism in rural areas and supports lawful tourism undertakings, the safety of those tourists is paramount,” said Mr Botha.
In reference to comments that Angie’s G-Spot would not have been given a liquor licence in the past if their building was deemed illegal, the following: The George Municipality does not issue liquor licences, the Western Cape Liquor Authority does. In the past liquor licenses were issued without the input of municipalities, but legislation has recently changed and premises on which licenses apply must comply with new legislation which includes comment from the relevant municipality and ward councillor and must comply with town planning requirements.