Judgement in the high court case between WARA and Verreweide (Pty) Ltd and the Cape Agulhas Municipality was given on 19 November 2009, in favour of WARA.
The verdict was described as a victory for the entire community of Arniston / Waenhuiskrans.
Among other things, the judge found that the Municipality did not take the market value of the land into consideration when it was sold, as required by law. The property was initially sold for R426 000, then effectively resold for R4 million. The owner, Verreweide, represented by Robert Haarburger, subsequently modified the initially approved building plans and started building without approved building plans.
The judge also found that there had been ostensible collusion between the municipal manager of the time, Keith Jordaan, and Verreweide / Haarburger. As a public officer, Jordaan was obligated to act in good faith, but he was not impartial and objective. When it came to his attention that the rezoning of the erf had expired, he ordered the municipal offices to antedate the approval of Verreweide’s building plans. The court found that Verreweide had begun construction before his modified building plans had been approved. According to the judge, the whole tendering process must now start again from the beginning, and the half-completed buildings may be partially or completely demolished.
WARA and WAG, which acted in the public interest and consider the legal proceedings as a test case under the new Municipal Financial Management Act, also welcome the court’s order that the legal expenses be paid by the defendants. WARA and its aesthetics committee look forward to cooperating in a coordinated way with the Cape Agulhas Municipality in future. Mutual good faith and compliance with the Constitution and the country’s laws will be essential to the fruitful and harmonious future development of this unique town and its community.
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To read the full judgement, CLICK HERE