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
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
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
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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As a developing country, Nigeria's real estate sector is evolving at a tremendous pace. Governments at all levels are more aware of the role of real estate development on the growth of their respective territories.
In principle, when the parties agree to arbitrate, they shall be
bound by that agreement. It should therefore follow that when a
party initiates arbitration proceedings, the other party - the
respondent – will avail itself of the opportunity to present
its case and participate in the proceedings.
Many standard form contracts contain provisions limiting the overall liability of the contractor, upon which a contractor unfamiliar with UAE law may place mistaken reliance.
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