By Frances Leate
A TOWN mayor has slammed the political process in Spain and vowed to help people made homeless after the Malaga fires.
Members of the Phoenix Campaign group and the Olive Press attended the meeting with the Mayor of Mijas, Angel Nozal, on December 18.
The meeting aimed to get the wheels turning for scores of people left homeless after the Malaga Fires in August destroyed their homes.
They have been unable to repair or start building their properties because the Junta of Andalucía must first grant them a license, which many did not or could not obtain when the homes were first built.
This could take months, or even years.
Mr Nozal, who said he was sympathetic to their cause, pledged to help the victims by clearing rubble and making their properties secure during the winter while they wait for permission, but said he could not speed up the process.
He said: “When the fires happened we said these were exceptional circumstances and we must allow houses that were built without the proper permissions to be rebuilt first while waiting for the legalisation process to take place.
“I wrote a letter to the Junta of Andalucía outlining the case for starting repair work as soon as possible but the Junta can take a maximum time of six months to reply.
“This means we should not expect anything until March.”
He added: “I have sympathy for the cause but I know how things work here in Spain and in Seville, time doesn’t exist in the same way.
It is crazy. Things take too long to happen and in the meantime people suffer.
“It is very frustrating for citizens; all they want is common sense to prevail.
“You must appeal to the human side of the politicians and tell them we know the homes were not legal like many thousands of properties throughout Mijas but you just want to live in your homes in the same way as you did before this tragedy.
“You are not asking for anything immoral or inhuman, you just want to start the repair work.
“And in the meantime people are being prosecuted and could go to prison if they so much replace a brick before they get the proper permissions.”
The mayor urged campaigners to form an association, to get in touch with the British Consulate and write individual letters to members of parliament.
Fire victims now hope to take their campaign to OjenTown Hall, where many other people lost their homes and join forces with people affected by the recent floods.
They say they will protest outside the Junta of Andalucia in Seville to get their plight heard.
I am very confused about the legality and/or the morality of all this. You are against golf courses being built without licences, or with licences that were obtained through “dubious” means. You do not approve of people building illegally close to the sea. You campaign against roads and railways being built through areas of natural beauty, but here you seem to be approving and arguing for the re-building of illegally built houses, in areas protected by law.