Recent construction of what appears to be a retaining boundary wall on a plot on the corner of Borrie and St Francis Dive in Santareme has been attracting attention and comment on social media. Whether this construction has approved plans seems to be in question as the municipality says not. But even if plans have been approved, judging by the look of the construction one must question if it is in line with the general aesthetics of the area. There must be certain ‘standards’ in St Francis Bay as there are in most formal residential areas in South Africa and if not, these certainly need to introduced if St Francis Bay is not to start resembling an informal settlement.

But the construction aside, it appears that a mini squatter camp has also been established on the plot with two workers having taken up residence in makeshift huts. With no toilets or showers provided where do they carry out their ablutions or do they just use the bush? More concerning is how long will it take  before others looking to build shacks in the area take to seize on an opportunity. We have all witnessed how quickly these shack towns can spring up and how difficult it is to have them demolished once they establish themselves. For the sake of the home owners in the area whose objections seem to have fallen on deaf ears, let’s see if the municipality take any action in the coming weeks to either confirm to the surrounding home owners that the construction is quite legitimate or stop construction if it is not.

South Africans have a propensity for breaking laws particularly when it comes to building regulations. Some may recall a bunch of houses being demolished on the Wild Coast last year ( when the Green Scorpions stepped in. So even in remote areas of the Wild Coast they take a dim view of people simply erecting structures without permission.

If the unsightly construction does have approval of the municipality then possibly the requirements of what is allowed and what is not should be re-visited. Whilst building regulations do at times frustrate development they are necessary to protect the investments of others. That there are sometimes unnecessarily long delays in getting plans approved certainly doesn’t help matters but even so this does not give anyone the right to simply go ahead and build even a boundary wall.