Woman faced six years jail for violating planning laws-• New laws to seek tougher sentences


Workers also went ahead to cut a terrace during the rainy season against the guidelines, when she started to build her house some years ago.

Explaining the maximum sentences provided by law for the offences, Supreme Court judge Duncan Gaswaga said it is very important to observe building regulations which not only seek to protect the project being undertaken, but also the environment and other people in the neighbourhood.

“The rules are meant to be preventive,” said the judge, citing the risk of landslides and erosion like those which hit three districts in January.

He said those convicted under the Environment Protection Act should also pay R5,000 for every day that an offence continues and fined the woman R50,000, failure to pay which she would go to jail for five months, saying he noted that in mitigation she said she has an 80-year-old mother to look after.

The law is in the process of being amended to allow courts to impose heavier sentences than those available now, the technical adviser for policy and law in the Ministry of Environment and Energy Juliana Legaie told Nation after the sentence.

She said representatives of non-governmental organisations which work with the environment, planning authority members from the environment department, health services, the Public Utilities Corporation and other agencies will take part in a validation workshop scheduled to take place later this month to review the proposed law before it is sent to the National Assembly.

We are proposing R500,000 to R700,000 fines depending on what offence a person commits,” she said also referring to the recent disasters in which many of the landslides were caused by builders’ failure to observe planning rules.

Ms Legaie said the conditions that the Beau Vallon lady broke are contained in an authorisation letter normally attached to a plan upon approval.