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Zim flats

8 August 2007

The desperate state of affairs of a 10-storey Durban block of flats was likened by a Durban High Court judge on Wednesday to the situation in Zimbabwe in that it had "no income and was going to rack and ruin." The case, which started in 2006, could have ramifications for thousands of other sectional title "bad buildings" in South Africa as it could set a precedent regarding the accountability of trustees. Two sisters, Nellie and Shireen Cassim, accuse the former trustees of the body corporate of mismanagement and unlawfully signing a R2-million loan agreement with Voyager Property Services without the knowledge of the other owners and, when it was not needed, plunging the building into a financial crisis.

They want the former trustees, Deon Strauss and Juan le Fevre, to be held responsible for the debts incurred and for the loan agreement to be set aside. The St Moritz Body Corporate is owed R4 million in arrear levies, and owes R400,000 to eThekweni Municipality for water and electricity (which services have both been cut off),and this has resulted in the block's insurance being cancelled because it represents a fire hazard.

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