Invaders told to get out of multi-million rand property

THEY held a property evaluator hostage, installed a smelly generator after their power was cut off and tried to steal water from the neighbours

Now a group of about 35 mansion invaders in the posh Cape Town suburb of Bishopscourt have finally been told to go.

Last Thursday the Cape Town high court ordered the group occupying the multi-million rand eight-bedroom property on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain to leave within three months.

For almost two years neighbours have had sleepless nights after the house was turned into a den of crime and prostitution.

When the city cut off the power the invaders used a generator, polluting the air with fumes.

Numerous complaints from the neighbours have ended in the City of Cape Town declaring the Maclear Road mansion a problem building under its new by-law, which enables the city to seize a building if its owner or occupants do not fix it within 30 days.

Mohammed Patel and Tshepisho Mokgorwane, the liquidators of Windflower Properties, a close corporation that bought the double-storey house with parquet floors and large wooden French doors, approached the high court in May to have the illegal occupants evicted.

The close corporation's owner, Ridwaan Banderker, who borrowed more than R4 million to buy the house in 2007, defaulted on his payments.

Patel said in an affidavit that the company had tried to sell the house before neglecting it.

He said the water and electricity had been cut off, but the noisy generator was still in use. He said the toilets did not work and "human waste was dumped into the drains or elsewhere on the premises".

The neighbours, Patel said, "caught the occupants of the house attempting to divert water from their property by illegally connecting to the inflow pipe where it adjoined the municipal water meter".

He said the police had raided the premises more than 10 times since last October and a property evaluator sent to inspect the house was held hostage for two hours.

After discovering that the city had declared the mansion a problem building, the liquidators' lawyer, Sean Pienaar, filed an affidavit, saying they knew nothing about the move, which could see the property being seized by the local authorities, and result in their facing further liabilities.

A neighbour, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said: "I'm very pleased. I hope everybody can move forward, especially the owner of the property. I think all the neighbourhood will be pleased that a decision has been made".

"There is law in this country and we all have to follow it. It's crazy, you can't just live in somebody's house for nothing. You can't do that in life."