Residents of posh Point Waterfront apartment up in arms after pregnant mom gets stuck in lift
Durban - THE Sails on Timeball block of apartments on the Point Waterfront which has sweeping views of the Durban harbour is prime location in the city.
It is within walking distance of the newly opened beachfront promenade and on the doorstep of uShaka Marine World which makes it highly sought after by investors, home buyers and holidaymakers.
But some residents in the buildings who have spoken to IOL say the apartment block has been allowed to run down by the body corporate who have not fixed leaks, allowed the building to crack in places and not maintained the lifts.
In addition they complain that they have to put up with excessive noise until the early hours of the morning from a nearby nightclub and holiday letters who do not care about the rules.
Owners and residents of the 148-unit block pay more than R3000 a month in levies.
A unit in the block sells from R2.2m and can fetch up to R10m for an upper floor apartment.
At the weekend, in a turn of events that angered several residents, a pregnant mother got stuck in one of the six lifts for more than half an hour and had to be freed by other residents.
Chanelle Manickum described her experience as terrifying, saying she feared for not just her baby’s life but her life when the lift doors did not open on Saturday and she realised she was stuck.
“I am asthmatic and suffer from a lung condition. When I was told by the security that there was nothing they could do for me and I had to wait for the people from the lift company to open the lifts I panicked. It was hot and stuffy in there and there was no air coming through. I felt like I was going to pass out and screamed,” she said.
Manickum said that eventually her husband, assisted by a few other residents, pried open the doors and freed her.
“Of the six lifts, only one was working. It is so hazardous and dangerous. Things like this should not be happening in a building like the Sails,” she said.
Another resident said that the building was leaking in several places and it was not properly managed.
He said bad elements were allowed into the building without question and parties went on until the early hours, often disturbing residents.
“The constant fighting for power within the building has led to a totally dysfunctional building which is falling apart with no management structure,” said a resident who did not to be named.
“There are all types of illicit activities going on including the making of porn movies. Not only that, but the building is leaking in several places and is totally unsafe. The people the management allow inside the buildings make a noise and there is often fighting that spill out onto the streets,” he said.
Logan Naidoo, the chairperson of the body corporate, said that following the complaints by the residents they had decided to get a building inspector from the eThekwini municipality to have a look at the building and write up a report on all the defects.
“We will be able to, with this report, fix things up in the building. What people need to realise is that I am also an owner of an apartment in the building and it is in the best interest of all of us that the building is fixed and maintained,” he said.
He said the problems with the lifts were being sorted out with a maintenance contractor.
Naidoo agreed that residents at the Sails should expect a well maintained building for the amount of levies they paid.
He said that he was only elected as chairperson of the body corporate in mid-December and that much of the problems were created by previous body corporates that failed to keep a handle on expenditure.
Naidoo said: “People are going to the media now because we are trying to enforce the rules. There have been people on the body corporate for more than 10 years who have allowed things to go the way they have.
“We are paying high levies because they ran the building to the ground. Because of this we are paying R33 a square metre in levies compared to R20 a square metre people are paying in Umhlanga for the same thing.”
Regarding the noise complaints, Naidoo said that people who bought into the building knew they bought into a mixed zone building.
“It is not purely residential. We have space for entertainment and other mix uses. Last year when there were complaints about the nightclub downstairs we spoke to the owner of the club and he actually closed the club down,” Naidoo said.
“There has also been complaints about the noise in the building caused by some tenants. Some of the units in this building is rented out to holidaymakers and with regard to this, there is an element of racism because many of the people who come here on holiday are African people.
“People who live in the building must understand this and they were aware that this happens when they bought into the building. This week we called for a meeting to discuss holiday letting and a wide range of issues facing the building, but out of the 148 units in the building, only four are attending this meeting. Instead of working together to fix things, people would rather complain.”
Naidoo said that they sent two newsletters to residents in recent weeks outlining what was being done to maintain the building and other issues.