City of Joburg wins court battle to stop worship at a house in Yeoville
TMG Digital | 2017-05-17 19:07:20.0
Complaints about the church’s illegal operation were brought to the city in November 2016. File photo
Image by: Gallo Images/ Thinkstock
The City of Johannesburg is celebrating a landmark victory after the South Gauteng High Court ordered a pastor to stop worship services in a house in Yeoville.
The council went to court to get Selvan Crole Marcelle‚ also known as Pastor Elijah Tenkwee‚ to cease unlawfully operating his Yeoville-based church.
This follows numerous complaints by the community. The church operated in contravention of City by-laws relating to building and land use‚ the city argued in court.
Complaints about the church’s illegal operation were brought to the city in November 2016. Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba and the MMC for Development Planning‚ Funzela Ngobeni‚ were invited to a meeting organised by members of the Yeoville community in March this year in order to discuss the matter.
According to the city‚ additions and alterations had been made to the dwelling without approval from the city. Furthermore‚ the operations of the church often resulted in loud music being played into the early hours of the morning – disturbing the peace of residents in the area.
The City subsequently served Marcelle with contravention notices to stop all activities‚ including a final notice but he did not comply.
On Wednesday the court: – interdicted Marcella from using the property for any purpose other than a dwelling;
– ordered that the property may not be used as a place of worship;
– ordered the removal of all property‚ materials and equipment used for the purposes of a place of worship; and
– ordered that Marcella rehabilitate the property back to a residential dwelling;
“Whilst the City believes in promoting and protecting the religious practices of all our residents‚ such cannot come at the expense of the rule of law within the city.
Under the new administration‚ the city is determined to bring contraveners of building and land-use regulations such as Mr Marcella to book as part of our plan to revitalise the inner city…the city will also be making use of the recently revived municipal courts so as to fast-track the legal process for addressing building control and land-use contraventions‚” Mashaba said.