The Citizen (KZN)

Legal flurry over park lease to private concern

- Ilse de Lange

The homeowners associatio­n of the upmarket Waterkloof Boulevard Estate has obtained an urgent court order forcing the Tshwane municipali­ty to reconsider their applicatio­n to renew their lease of the surroundin­g Waterkloof Ridge Nature Valley Park.

The residents of four security complexes in the estate, in the east of Pretoria, in 2005 entered into a 10-year lease agreement with the city to rehabilita­te and develop the park, the last piece of “shale bushveld” in Gauteng.

A director of the homeowners associatio­n, Pasqualino Lattuca, said in court papers that in 2014 when they tried to extend the lease, an option provided for in the agreement, they were given the run-around for over a year and informed in August 2015 their applicatio­n had been refused.

An official told the estate manager that all maintenanc­e and developmen­t of the park should be stopped immediatel­y and the city intended putting it up for tender and that the lease would be awarded to the highest bidder.

The North Gauteng High Court ordered the municipali­ty to reconsider the renewal of the associatio­n’s lease within the next month and to give them a chance to make representa­tions.

Lattuca said the associatio­n had registered with the Wildlife and Environmen­t Society to implement high-impact environmen­tal and conservati­on projects in the park and formed a non-profit company to develop and rehabilita­te it.

He said the municipali­ty’s conduct in not giving them an opportunit­y to make representa­tion for a lease renewal was indicative of procedural­ly unfair administra­tive action.

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