A magistrates failure to ensure that a witness understood what it meant to take the prescribed oath has resulted in an Atlantis mans rape conviction and 16-year sentence being set aside.

Businessman and theologian Simphiwe Zondo and his controversial wellness “tent town” college have been given the boot from prime Inanda property.

Zondo on Thursday failed in his attempt to apply for leave to appeal against an eviction order granted against him in the Durban High Court.

Zondo had been ordered in March this year by Judge Mohini Murugasen to vacate municipal land in the Inanda area and to stop his business activities on the land. Zondo, who lives on the property, had been operating his “college” on municipal land without the city’s permission. His college, which included a “tent town” where students had lived, had also extended on to land owned by the Ingonyama Trust.

Also on Thursday, in a separate application before Judge Anton van Zyl, Zondo was ordered to leave the land owned by the Ingonyama Trust and to destroy all structures on the property.

According to court papers, Zondo started operating his university in 2010 and has an estimated 2 000 “students” who stay in tents and are taught how to sell his health products.

Municipal legal adviser Naomi James said in an affidavit that Zondo’s facility was close to property which had been earmarked for the development of the Inthatakusa Retreat and posed health and safety risks to his students and to residents of the area.

In his replying papers, Zondo said he was providing “entrepreneurial training and skills” and operating his college on land owned by Inkosi M Ngcobo, of the Qadi tribal authority.

On Thursday, Judge Murugasen ruled that there were no reasonable prospects of success on appeal.

“The actions by the respondent appear to be a strategy to remain in occupation. He had adequate time to deal with the various issues and place his information before the court. The court made a ruling on what was before it and there is no reasonable possibility that another court would find a different conclusion.”

She dismissed the application with costs.

- The Mercury