Chappies interdict application dismissed

2012-03-09 20:11
Cape Town - An urgent application to stop construction on the Chapman's Peak toll plaza in Cape Town was dismissed - with costs - by the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

Judge Rosheni Allie ruled that the applicants, the Hout Bay Residents' Association and the Habitat Council, could have applied for an interdict at an earlier stage.

"I am of the view that the applicants were aware as early as September last year that Western Cape premier Helen Zille and Transport MEC Robin Carlisle intended to continue with the project and with the construction," she said.

"[Instead], the applicants chose to rely on a suggestion by SA National Parks CEO David Mabunda that there would be an application for deproclamation underway."

At the time, they chose not to bring an application and could therefore not suddenly now bring an urgent application.

Their application also did not comply with proper procedures, as inadequate time had been given for a sufficient response to the 346-page filing paper.

The respondents were Entilini, of which Murray and Roberts is a senior partner, SANParks, Zille, Carlisle and Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Advocate Sean Rosenberg, for Zille and Carlisle, earlier told the court his team had been given too little time to compile arguments.

"If it sounds querulous and complaining, then so be it," he said.

He also said it was strange that the applicants had referred to the threat to fynbos on the site when it had hardly been mentioned in their affidavit.

"That allegation is almost lost amongst other allegations. It occupies a very modest place in this."

Advocate Jeremy Muller, for the applicants, had said that 500 square metres of granite fynbos could be irretrievably lost.

He said the impact on vegetation had not been properly assessed in an environmental process and called on the court to take a risk-averse approach.

However, Allie found that due environmental processes had been followed.

She said that at this stage she could not consider the prospects of the applicant's case, as not all the respondents had been able to submit their replies.

A court date will be confirmed for April for the normal interdict application to be heard.

The applicants were ordered to pay the costs of their counsel.

Carlisle welcomed the ruling in a statement later on Friday.

He said the ruling was an affirmation of his long-standing view that the project had been carried out lawfully and in accordance with due process.

The Cape Argus reported on Friday that Carlisle intended to sue Hout Bay resident's association chairman Len Swimmer for defamation.

This was regarding comments Swimmer made in an interview with the newspaper two weeks ago.

Swimmer alleged that Carlisle convinced Entilini to compromise on certain things and in return the company could build an office block as a "sweetener".

Swimmer also claimed Murray & Roberts had made large donations to the Democratic Alliance -- but he did not expand on the relevance of this.

Carlisle's lawyers claimed these comments were "intended to mean that our client is guilty of conduct unbecoming to acceptable norms of personal behaviour", the newspaper reported.

Swimmer's legal team said demands to retract the statement were declined as they were lacking in basis.

Swimmer told the newspaper he had not accused Carlisle of corruption.

Read more on:    sanparks  |  helen zille  |  robin carlisle  |  edna molewa  |  cape town

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