Battle over road to Berg hotel rumbles on

2010-09-14 00:00

A LEGAL battle concerning the repair and maintenance of roads leading to the Cathedral Peak Hotel in the Drakensberg has been postponed to February next year.

The case concerns an application by the owners of the hotel to force the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department to fix what was termed in court papers as a “dangerous pothole” problem, as well as to replace and repair road signs leading to the hotel.

The Transport Department is defending the action.

The case has been set down for trial between February 14 and 18.

The owners of Cathedral Peak Hotel are also involved in an ongoing dispute with the KwaZulu-Natal Conservation Board (falling under KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife) over the maintenance of a section of road through Cathedral Peak reserve up to the hotel.

EKZNW has undertaken to maintain in terms of an agreement.

The road is used by international and local visitors to Cathedral Peak and to EKZNW’s Didima resort as well as the local community.

On April 20, Acting High Court Judge Barry Skinner granted an order compelling the board to comply with its obligations to maintain the road in terms of the agreement, and awarded costs in favour of the hotel.

In a brief judgment handed down after the board had agreed to abide by the decision of the court, Skinner commented that he is “disturbed” that public money has unnecessarily been spent on the matter.

Since then the hotel — owned by the Van Der Riet Family Trust — has filed further papers calling for EKZNW CEO Bandile Mkhize to be held in contempt of court for allegedly breaching Skinner’s order.

In a replying affidavit, however, Mkhize denies the board is not complying with the court order.

He said the board has embarked on a process to ensure compliance, but this cannot be completed in a short time as various procedures have to be followed and the board has to comply with the provisions of the Public Finance Act and Treasury regulations.

He said funding has to be sourced from provincial treasury, which on May 25 had approved funding in an amount of R600 000.

There is no court date yet for hearing the latest application concerning the board.

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