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Monday Jul 16, 2012

Temporary settlement in property dispute over Point development

Members of the Durban Paddle Ski Club were given back their boats on Friday in terms of an out-ofcourt agreement with the Durban Point Development Company.

The members, who said the company had unlawfully attached and removed their private boats, went to the Durban High Court on Friday intending to argue for their return.

But the matter was removed from the roll. The Mercury understands that it was agreed that the sheriff could release the boats to the owners, but the owners would have to fetch them themselves.

It was also agreed that each side would pay its own legal costs.

However, the bigger dispute is far from over.

The lawyer acting for the company, Christine Seger, said her client was of the view that, while the settlement reached was fair and reasonable to both parties, the club remained in breach of a court order for costs.

"Our client is considering its options," she said.

The debt - for about R266 000 in legal costs - arose after the company went to court and secured an eviction order against the club, which it can put into effect once it has all its approvals in place for its proposed small-craft harbour.

The club says it offered to pay the debt off at R10 000 a month, but this was rejected.

Instead, the company sent the sheriff to the clubhouse to attach all assets, and in the process the members' boats were also attached.

In an affidavit which was handed in during the court dispute, Gino D'eramo of Laurusco Developments (Pty) Ltd, the developer hired by the company on the project, said the club had publicly stated that it had a million rand "war chest" to fight the proposed redevelopment of the area and eviction.

In the light of this, he said, it was unreasonable to offer only R10 000 a month, which was to come from subscriptions that would end when the club was evicted anyway.

"If the club has 300 members, as it alleges, then a special membership levy of about R891 for each member would discharge the entire debt.

"The R10 000 offered amounts to a monthly contribution by each member of the princely sum of R33.33 - ludicrous in the circumstances," D'eramo said.

He said the club was a member of the Save Vetch's Association, which was litigating to stop the proposed development and was "not simply just a sports club", as it attempted to suggest.

The Mercury

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