Residents back down on Chappies

The Hout Bay Residents & Ratepayers Association (H BRRA) has dropped its court application to halt construction of the Chapman’s Peak toll office building, and in return, his department “withdrew the costs order” against the association, Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle said on Thursday.

The association had in May lodged an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court, asking the court to stop toll company Entilini from continuing with construction of a two-storey office block on scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive.

Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle. Credit: INLSA

They argued that the office, part of the toll plaza under construction, was on SANParks land and is therefore part of the Table Mountain National Park. If the order was granted, the residents intended returning to court to establish whether construction of the office on national parks land is lawful.

But on June 6, the application was dismissed. Judge Bennie Griesel found that what the residents sought in their main court action was merely to delay, not prevent, construction of the toll office.

Carlisle said on Thursday his lawyers have been in discussion with HBRRA’s lawyer, and the organisation would take no further court action.

“We have, in turn, agreed to withdraw the costs orders (against the HBRRA) which were ordered by Judge Allie following their first bid to stop construction.

“I truly welcome this development. It brings to an end a fight that I didn’t look for and didn’t enjoy being in,” Carlisle said.

He said he has also decided to withdraw a defamation case he had filed against HBRRA chairman Len Swimmer.

Swimmer had allegedly accused Carlisle of giving the toll office building to Entilini as a “sweetener” during re-negotiation of its contract.

“Construction (of the office building) has been proceeding and will continue and it is due for completion next year easter,” Carlisle said when asked what would happen next.

Swimmer refused to comment, while HBRRA lawyer Greg Daniels would only confirm what Carlisle said.