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​The city of Joburg has launched an interdepartmental initiative to address the numerous building control and environmental transgressions that have taken place at the Rietvlei Zoo Farm. 

Rietvlei Zoo Farm in the South of Joburg, is a substantial property that was originally used by the City Zoo as an animal rehabilitation centre. A portion of the property is also a wetland, while another portion contained a memorial site which was protected by the City’s heritage policy. 

When the City Zoo decided to relocate their animal rehabilitation centre to Parys, the property was put out to lease as it was a substantial green space that was ideal for camping and other nature orientated activities.

It was determined that the lease to manage the property on behalf of the City, would be awarded to Defence Properties.

Shortly after that, negotiations broke down with Defence Properties and the final lease agreement was not signed. Since that time, Defence Properties has engaged in illegal sub-letting and has facilitated the construction of numerous illegal buildings that have no authorised building plans. 

Further to this, a driving range has been built on the wetland and the memorial has been destroyed to make way for additional illegal construction.

Currently, there are a few dozen businesses operating on the property and the owner of Defence Properties has built their own private house on site. As a result of all the illegal construction and lack of adherence to City processes, City Power and Rand Water are also unable to bill correctly for all users on site.
The Joburg Property Company, in partnership with Building Development Management, Development Planning, GDARD and Environmental Health, have launched an operation to serve citations on all businesses operating on the premises.

Following this action, the city will be taking Defence Properties to court, in order to secure an eviction.

The City of Joburg has declared a zero tolerance policy on opportunists who feel they can usurp City property and use it for their own ends. The rule of law must be upheld, particularly in the protection of our valuable green space and heritage sites.

Contact: Andrew Stewart
Mobile: 081 367 8861