ConCourt to rule on land dispute

2013-09-05 06:44
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will deliver judgment on Thursday in a dispute about the development of land in Saldanha Bay.

Britannia Beach Estate, Britannia Bay Developers, Sandy Points Beach Properties and West Coast Miracles are applying for leave to appeal a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) decision on the tariffs used to determine their capital contributions in respect of six developments

The Saldanha Bay municipality approved the developments subject to the payment of capital contributions, under the Land Use Planning Ordinance.

The developers have claimed that the municipality should have determined the contributions using a tariff approved by the municipality in 1997.

They contended, in the Western Cape High Court, that the municipality's decision to levy capital contributions in terms of later changes was invalid and legally defective.

They also sought an accounting from the municipality on the basis of their fiduciary relationship, which they contend included a duty on the municipality to furnish an account to them.

The high court found in their favour, holding that a later tariff had been rescinded and that, as a result, it was not in force.

It also held that, in a broad sense, the fiduciary relationship between a municipal council and its subjects had, as one of its fundamental elements, an obligation on the council to ensure its actions were "open and transparent".

This included a duty on the municipality to account to them.

The SCA set aside the decision, finding that the developers had not submitted that the conditions imposed were unlawful.

It held that the conditions agreed to, including the tariffs, could not be unilaterally amended by any of the parties and that they remained binding until set aside in review proceedings.

It also found that the developers had not followed the procedure set out in the ordinance.

The SCA held that it was unnecessary for it to deal with the duty of the municipality to account to the developers.

They contended in the Constitutional Court, that the SCA had erred in its approach and that they were entitled to the order granted in their favour in the high court.

The municipality has opposes the application for leave to appeal and contends that the SCA finding was correct.

Read more on:    sca  |  cape town  |  land

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