Court orders R8?mln house demolished

2013-08-24 00:00

A LUXURY house valued at R8 million at Kenton-on-Sea must be demolished, the Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled.

Appeal judges found that Professor Matthew Lester, who lectures in tax law at Rhodes University, had the house built without approved plans in the resort town between East London and Port Elizabeth.

They described the 10-year battle over the house, including six high court suits, as an “unfortunate saga”.

Lester’s neighbour, named in court papers only as Mr Haslam, complained to the Ndlambe Municipality when he discovered foundations for the house were being dug.

He was especially worried that his “breathtaking sea view from east to west” would be ruined by the planned double-storey Lester house.

At one stage, local anger over Lester’s house was so severe that he moved to Cape Town to get away from it.

In the last high court case, Lester was ordered to submit new building plans within a month (even though the house had already been built).

He made other suggestions to settle the matter, but these were rejected.

Appeal judges K. Mthinyane, A. Cachalia, L. Theron, S. Majiedt and D. Zondi ordered the demolition, not because of harm to Haslam’s view, but because the plans weren’t passed in terms of the National Building Regulations and Standards Act.

They said if they did not order the demolition, that would allow an illegality and crime to persist, which was not acceptable under SA law.

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