ConCourt to hear land argument

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Johannesburg -

The Constitutional Court will hear argument on Tuesday on whether a non-ratepayer can challenge the validity of a land contract between a municipality and a third party.

Giant Concerts is filing an application for leave to appeal a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which ruled that it failed to establish its legal standing to challenge a decision by the eThekwini municipality.

In 2003, the eThekwini municipality sold beachfront land to Rinaldo Investments in an attempt to develop Durban's film industry. This was done through private sale instead of public tender.

Giant Concerts, which is the property holding company of Videovision Entertainment, objected to the proposed sale and instituted legal action in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to have it reviewed.

It claimed that its right to just administrative action had been infringed upon by the municipality’s non-compliance with a provincial ordinance.

The court ruled in favour of Giant Concerts and found that the municipality's decision was unlawful. It declared the agreement between the municipality and Rinaldo void.

Rinaldo appealed in the SCA, which overturned the high court's judgment.

It found that Giant Concerts had failed to establish a legal standing to challenge the municipality’s decision to sell the land as it had not shown sufficient interest in the subject matter of the dispute.

In its appeal to the Constitutional Court, Giant Concerts will argue that the SCA’s approach to legal standing was “too narrow”.

It asked that the court take a more relaxed approach to safeguarding the principles of transparency, competitiveness, fairness, political participation and legality, as enshrined in the Constitution.

Giant Concerts also wants the contract deemed void and the decision to sell the property to Rinaldo deemed “unlawful, procedurally unfair and unreasonable”.

Rinaldo contends that even if Giant Concerts can show standing, the contract was lawful and valid. - Sapa

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