Dispute between Rand Water, Woodhill homeowner over water pipeline ends in court

A Woodhill Estate homeowner and Rand Water are embroiled in a court battle regarding space for an additional pipelines. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

A Woodhill Estate homeowner and Rand Water are embroiled in a court battle regarding space for an additional pipelines. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 21, 2022


Pretoria - A dispute between the Rand Water Board and the homeowner in the upmarket Pretoria east Woodhill Estate and Country Club over a servitude has landed in court.

Rand Water said it needed to lay an additional water pipe to service the area, but could not do so as one of the properties in the estate was in the way.

The legal wrangle involves a notarial deed of servitude registered in December 1997 in favour of Rand Water over a portion of the Farm Garsfontein 374, which now comprises the Woodhill Estate.

According to Rand Water, it requires use of, among others, this servitude to lay a further pipeline within it to cater for the increasing demand for water owing to what it describes as the “increasing population growth and township developments or spatial developments” of the region.

Rand Water complains that there are a number of encroaching structures on the strip of land constituting the servitude.

One of the complaints, which has now landed before the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, was that part of the house and swimming pool of one of the residents encroached on the servitude.

According to Rand Water, it has engaged with the Woodhill Homeowners Association regarding the alleged encroachments, only to be met with a response that there are no “huge” encroachments within the estate on the servitude.

The association said that, should there be any encroachments, those were most probably within the buffer zone.

Thus, the court said, it would appear that an impasse has been reached.

The specific encroachments complained of include the swimming pool of one of the homeowners which is encroaching on the servitude by slightly more than seven square metres, a portion of the house and the boundary walls constructed over the servitude area, which is on top of Rand Water’s existing pipeline.

In a counter application, the affected homeowner said that if there was an encroachment, the court should order that Rand Water acted unreasonably in refusing to grant consent for the “as built” encroachments.

The owner also wants the court to compel Rand Water to report on the safety of its existing pipeline insofar as it runs over the property.

In terms of the servitude, Rand Water may lay water pipes along a strip of land in this area – a portion which runs through Woodhill.

Rand Water told the court that in terms of the servitude agreement at the time with the City of Tshwane (which then owned the land) they may from time to time patrol, inspect, maintain, repair, remove and relay the pipelines.

The agreement, it said, also stated that there shall be no structures, parking allowed, trees planted or material placed or deposited on or over the strip without Rand Water’s consent.

It said it would not withhold this unreasonably.

Rand Water stated that owing to increasing water demand in the region, and in furtherance of its Constitutional obligations, it required use of its servitude, including the part laid across a portion of the estate to lay a further pipeline.

According to the entity, it also needs to inspect the existing pipeline, which it cannot do now.

Pretoria News