The State Attorney's office is, in many places, dysfunctional. That is nothing to be proud of, yet nothing seems to be done about it or at least we are not aware of anything being done.
Ms Constance Nithole worked for the office of the State Attorney in Pretoria and one of the matters she dealt with was on behalf of the Department of Transport. In an affidavit she said: "I do not know why the applicant tarred respondent's counsel with the same brush as my dysfunctional office. Clearly I was failing to respond to the letters most of which were being communicated by email. As has become clear, I rarely look at my emails. On this basis I am confident that had all the communication be addressed by way of letters and not emails to my office, my attention would have been drawn to them and I would certainly have responded accordingly."
She was ordered to pay, personally, the costs of the opposing litigant on the de bonis propriis scale, the most punitive costs order possible. The Department was ordered to pay them jointly and severally and, if it paid, to deduct the amount from anything due to her.
It is reported that many buildings are being erected without plans being approved.
That this is dangerous is illustrated by recent judgments that saw applications for interdicts to prevent the constructions going ahead and orders for demolition of what had been erected. In one of those applications the delinquent was a professor of tax law. He erected a huge home at Kenton.
The SCA dealt with several issues.
It was common cause that the building has been erected unlawfully, without any building plans as required by section 4(1) of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act. The first question the court considered was whether the demolition would infringe on the professor's right to adequate housing. The answer was no.
It held that courts had no discretion not to order demolition of any "unapproved structure". The courts had to uphold the law.
The courts are not prepared to allow an offender to escape by simply getting plans approved after the construction.
Mrs Naidoo's trust was also ordered to demolish a building for the same reason. She gave the courts a runaround for years and it was only when she and the other trustees were facing imprisonment that they complied. Incidentally, Mrs Naidoo is the same person who is financing the Marais (theft of property in Kini Bay). Many local authorities are very tolerant. Perhaps those new judgments will force them to enforce the law.
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