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IOLProperty - South African Property For Sale
Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

Chikane to act as mediator in Schubart Park property dispute

A mediator has been appointed to facilitate discussions between the Tshwane Metro Council and the Schubart Park Residents' Association.

The parties have settled for the Reverend Frank Chikane, a Struggle hero and former director-general of The Presidency under Thabo Mbeki.

Chikane, who is the president of the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, hosted his first media briefing yesterday where the terms of reference for the dialogue were signed by the municipality, represented by city manager Jason Ngobeni, and the association, represented by chairman Ali Mashimbye.

Chikane's appointment is in compliance with the Constitutional Court order granted on October 9.

The court ruled that the former tenants of Schubart Park, evicted from the council-owned flats last year, were entitled to move back into the building.

The court ruled that the municipality should identify the tenants who were staying in the flats before the evictions, and enter into discussions with them.

According to the municipality, Chikane has - in his capacity as mediator - convened two meetings with the parties.

Chikane, with the representatives of the metro council and of the association, inspected Schubart Park "to have a sense of what the parties are talking about in terms of the buildings".

Asked what his impressions were of the buildings after the inspection, Chikane declined to go into details, stating they "form part of the discussions".

"Obviously they are not in good condition," said Chikane.

According to the terms of reference, Chikane is to:

  • Foster a spirit of trust between the parties with a view to their engaging meaningfully and objectively on the matters in dispute, with the purpose of reaching consensus.

  • Conduct inspections in loco where necessary, together with the parties' representatives, with a view to narrowing the issues.

  • Establish time frames for consultative processes in terms of the dispute resolution process, and deadlines for the committees and mediator to report back.

  • Ensure that all parties comply with the time lines, November 30 and January 31, set out in the order of the Constitutional Court.

  • Narrow the issues in dispute with a view to reaching an agreement on material issues.

    Chikane said three joint working committees had been constituted to deal with:

  • the identification of the residents who were in occupation of Schubart Park before the removal;

  • alternative accommodation to be provided to the identified residents;

  • and the manner in which the municipality would assist the identified residents in occupying Schubart Park.

    According to Chikane, the residents' association has agreed to assist with the identification of residents who occupied the units at Schubart Park.

    "Both parties are committed to resolving this matter," he said.

    Residents' association chairman Mashimbye said some of the former residents of Schubart Park had been traced. "We haven't had any challenges so far," he said.

    He said they were happy with the discussions up to now and were committed to resolving any differences between the parties.

    Asked about the possible demolition of Schubart Park, Ngobeni said: "We're not in a position to give a definitive answer.

    "This...will be dealt with by one of the committees."

    Pretoria News

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