City takes battle over church storage to Western Cape High Court

Containers at Riverview Church of Christian Road Westlake. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Containers at Riverview Church of Christian Road Westlake. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 8, 2024


Landowners at the Riverview Church of Christ in Lakeside have distanced themselves from a looming court battle instituted by the City to be heard at the Western Cape High Court next week.

After entering into a leasing agreement with a storage company which moved about 100 storage containers onto the church premises – for which it has no zoning approvals – the landowners say they are “not directly involved in litigation” by the City.

Deputy mayor and Mayco member for Spatial Planning and Environment Eddie Andrews said the matter is now before court for determination and is set to be heard on February 12.

“The City has instituted legal proceedings in the Western Cape High Court for relief to enforce compliance with the City’s Municipal Planning By-law (MPBL) and Development Management Scheme (DMS) and Building Act. The court application was served on the respondents on January 25.

“The City has no further comment, given that this matter is now before the court for determination,” said Andrews.

This comes after the landowners and storage company failed to comply with compliance notices ordering the ceasing of operations at the site and the containers to be moved from the church premises on January 19.

Timothy Chase, the attorney for Honore Makembe and his wife Bijoux Makembe, who together serve on the board of trustees which owns the church, said his clients are “not directly involved any more”.

“The litigation is really taking place between the City and Metric Storage, the company which runs the containers. The Makembes are not directly involved at all.

There were negotiations that took place (on Tuesday) between the City and Metric Storage and those negotiations are ongoing,” said Chase. He confirmed his clients were cited as respondents in court papers but have not filed any replying affidavits.

Storage business owner Dealtry Pickford did not respond to questions by deadline. Pickford had entered into a five-year lease agreement with the church board of trustees. However, an application for a zoning departure at the premises was submitted to the municipality but has not yet been presented at council for approval.

Cape Times