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I am a qualified Attorney. I specialise in Property Law, Commercial Law, Corporate Law and Trusts.
Please visit our website at www.prop-law.co.za for more details.
I am an elected Committee Member of the Property Committee of the Association of Pretoria Attorneys and through my involvement, I like to ensure that I am constantly at the "sharp-end" of Conveyancing Practice.

I am the elected Chairman on the Gauteng Council of SAPOA. The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) is the biggest and most influential institution in the property industry. SAPOA members control about 90% of commercial property in SA, with a combined portfolio in excess of R150 Billion (about $22 Billion). I am also on the National Council and the National Legal Committee of SAPOA.
Member of the Institute of Directors South Africa and Member of the Sirdar Governance Panel.

28 February 2014

Neighbours call for property developer to be jailed

Neighbours call for property developer to be jailed

Durban's Montpelier Road 'illegal' building saga will be back in court this morning with neighbours asking that the developers be jailed for contempt of court for ignoring an interdict granted last year stopping construction.

'Utterly contemptuous', is how neighbours of the almost completed block of flats in Morningside have described the conduct of the trust that owns the building, arguing that the only appropriate punishment for the trustees is three months behind bars or a R50 000 fine each.

It will be the third time the neighbours, including attorneys Shahir Ramdass and Dave McNaught, have been forced to go to the Durban High Court about the development which they label a monstrosity that blocks their view and is not in keeping with the neighbourhood.

In their interdict application last November they said most of the work had been done prior to the city approving plans last September.

They wanted an interdict stopping further work pending a judicial review of the decision to approve the plans.

Judge Rashid Vahed granted the interdict, ordering that the only work that could be done was what was necessary for the structural integrity of the building and public safety.

He also ordered that the city deliver the 'review record' including the approved plans by the end of November.

But this was never done - the city said the plans were copyrighted and it could not hand them over and the developers flatly refusing to do so - and in January the neighbours went back to court.

In his affidavit in today's application, Ramdass accuses the developers of showing complete contempt for the interdict, citing 'at least five fundamental breaches'.

They also refused to allow a land surveyor, hired by the objecting neighbours, on to the site to complete his report.

In his attached report, town planner Kaviraj Soni documents the alleged breaches with photographs. These include the construction of walls, an electricity sub-station, light fittings, internal and external plastering and painting.

In his opinion, the interdict and the national building regulations had been breached.

The Mercury

It is always dangerous to speculate when you only have only heard one side of the dispute.  However, if the Applicant's version is correct, then it is very distressing that the Court Order has no "teeth".

If people can randomly choose to ignore interdicts then they rapidly lose any value. I suppose that the Respondent will alledge that the work done "was necessary for the structural integrity of the building and public safety" and then argument becomes technical.  The work done (according to the article) certainly does not appear to be in preservation of structural integrity.

Gareth Shepperson
Commercial and Property Attorney

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