Council homes case goes to court

2010-10-19 00:00

NEXT Wednesday is D-day for the Sanctuary Road tenants who are holding up the third-phase extension of the Liberty Midlands Mall as their case against the Msunduzi Municipality finally hits the high court.

According to the lodged court papers, the residents are willing to budge from the properties if the municipality pays each of the nine families R500 000.

This in spite of originally intending to lodge an application that would allow them to buy the homes, as they were led to believe the houses were transitional.

An attached document to support this claim states, “… the housing scheme in which you reside was built by the council … [with the intention] that the housing should be transitional by nature”.

But the lawyers representing the municipality tell a different story in documents attached to the court order. They state that the tenants “were never led to believe that they had the right to purchase or acquire the immovable properties. On the contrary they were notified in no uncertain terms that their request to acquire the properties was refused.”

Incidentally, the same document that supports the tenants’ claims — that they were led to believe that they could eventually buy the properties — goes on to state that once the matter was brought before the council, it was decided that the properties would not be made saleable.

The municipality’s lawyers then go on to state that there is no way that the municipality is going to pay each of the families concerned R500 000.

“If all of them will accept the sum of R500 000 in full and final settlement then please confirm in order that we may take instructions,” states the municipality’s legal representative.

But the tenants have rejected this offer as they rejected the initial offer of R150 000 each on top of a year’s free accommodation at Signal Hill. They are still waiting for outstanding documents which the municipality has to provide, but the municipality says they may have difficulty locating some of the requested documentation after so much time.

In the meantime, the expansion of the mall hangs in the balance.

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