A West Rand businessman who has been battling for years to get compensation after he lost access to his property when the massive Cradlestone Mall was built on his doorstep has obtained a court order forcing the Mogale City municipality to pay him over R10.4 million.
The High Court in Pretoria confirmed as an order of court a September 2016 arbitration award granted by retired Judge Willie Hartzenberg in favour of businessman Andre Bezuidenhout.
Bezuidenhout instituted arbitration proceedings against the municipality in 2015, when his two-hectare plot was cut off because of the drastic elevation of Furrow road to give access to the new mall.
The retired judge ruled that the municipality must not only pay R10 million in damages to Bezuidenhout but also interest dating back to July 2013, the costs of the arbitration proceedings and the costs of all of expert witnesses.
Construction of the mall, which was developed by the Sasol Pension Fund, started in 2012 even before the site plan could be approved, before the two townships on which it was built were proclaimed and without detailed traffic planning for the area.
Bezuidenhout tried to stop the elevation of Furrow road with an urgent interdict in 2012, but abandoned the application when the municipality assured him that the elevation would not commence before all access problems had been settled.
When the municipality nevertheless advertised plans to elevate the road, Bezuidenhout realised his property would not be accessible without extensive works and lodged an objection and a damages claim.
Judge Hartzenberg said although the municipality resisted the claim, Sasol had indemnified it against all possible claims arising as a result of the diversion of Furrow road and the real defendant was therefore the developer.
He said the city could have resolved not to proceed with the diversion.