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Seefar tenants in a predicament as imminent demolition looms

Home owners and tenants of the condemned Seefar Apartments have said they risk losing their life savings if the planned demolition of the building goes ahead.

The tenants have expressed their fears even as the 30-day vacation notice which elapses on November 11 draws near.

The notice was issued on October 12 by the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), which the tenants have no accused of inventing danger on them and instilling fear on them.

But on Thursday, while appearing before County Assembly’s Housing and Planning committee, the WRMA Regional Manager John Kinyanjui explained to members that the apartment is close to Nairobi Dam and on the other side encroaches on Ngong River.

DISREGARDED NOTICE

He insisted that the developer ignored two notices during the initial stages of construction informing them that it could be disastrous in the event the dam starts leaking.

“The building is on riparian land from the side of the Ngong River and also from Nairobi Dam. It is unfortunate that we issued two notices one in 2011 and another in 2012 during the initial stages of the construction which were both ignored by the developer,” he said.

The committee further cited failure WRMA’s failure to give recommendations to the relevant authorities for enforcement after the developer disregarded the notices.

The members also put to task the water authority to explain why they allowed construction of the building continue despite knowing that it was unsafe.

“Don’t you feel that it’s unfair to those people who bought those apartments because the advertisements were all over the media and you didn’t come out and just when only one unit is remaining is when we are seeing these notices?,” posed Anthony Kiragu, who is leading the committee.

APPROVAL PROCESS

Kinyanjui however defended the water authority that they were not in any way involved in the approval process.

Owners of Seefar Apartments units say that they learned about the intended demolition through local news stations and in social media.

However, Nema holds that the building was put up in contravention of Cap 387 of the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA).

Renting a unit costs between Sh38,000 and Sh45,000, while buying an apartment costs Sh6 million for two bedroom house and Sh8 million for three bedroom houses.

The building was commissioned by the then Housing Minister the late Soita Shitanda in 2013.