Battle for Durban's skyline could land up in Concourt

A legal skirmish which could change the face of Durban’s skyline could make its way before the bench of the Constitutional Court as a group of aggrieved residents and a property developer go toe to toe.

 At the centre of the dispute is a nine-storey apartment block in the upmarket Currie Road which has pitted developer Serengeti Rise Industries and a group of property owners bordering the development against one another.

In 2015 the Durban High Court ruled that a rezoning certificate issued by the eThekwini Municipality was invalid and ordered that the building ostensibly be demolished.

 Last week the judgment was set aside by the Supreme Court of Appeal after a successful bid by the developer.

 In the ruling‚ the SCA highlighted that the High Court had declared the rezoning of the building [to allow it to exceed four storeys] unlawful‚ but no order had been made‚ so the city’s approval of the rezoning remained in effect.

 The SCA ruled that the previous order of the court had “lacked clarity” and was not “just and equitable”.

 Advocate Tayob Aboobaker‚ who has been acting for the objecting residents‚ said that funding a Constitutional Court challenge was problematic.

 “I don’t have money to approach the Constitutional Court…it would be a winner…but I am worried about how I would afford the cost order against me if something goes wrong‚” he said.

 “If there is a response from the community and people are prepared to secure the costs of the matter I will proceed to the Constitutional Court‚” Aboobaker added.

 “If we approach the Constitutional Court then they cannot carry on working. If we don’t go – the building will continue.”


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