Jeremy Wiley, in his capacity as a Trustee of the Old Cape Farm Village Trust (known as the Noordhoek Farm Village), has been found guilty of contempt of court for failure to act on ruling to deal with illegal land use and car park.
Property developer Jeremy Wiley, as a Trustee of Noordhoek Farm Village, was found guilty of contempt of court by acting Judge Mantame on the 13th of December 2011. His offence was his failure to comply with a judgement of the Cape High Court handed down in February 2008 to deal with the illegal development of a car park on public open space.
Wiley was told to give effect to the original Court Order within 90 days, was fined R30 000 suspended on condition he complied with this new order and was ordered to pay the Noordhoek Environmental Action Group’s (NEAG’s) costs. Wiley has failed to deal with this clearly illegal activity, despite being informed by the courts nearly four years ago that his actions were illegal.
It is also remarkable that over this entire period Wiley failed to properly pursue rectification for his illegal operations. Instead a small local NGO was forced to take him to court in a protracted and expensive battle that has found Wiley wrong at every step of the way. It is also notable that both The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Provincial Government authorities did little to act against this illegal activity at any stage of the proceedings.
The original judgement by Judge Dennis Davis in 2008, as upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal , found that the development of the car park was illegal. Wiley was ordered to remove all illegal structures and then to apply for planning permission should he wish to proceed with this development. His appeals to the Cape High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal were rejected twice as being groundless.
Despite this, Wiley failed to rectify or regularise his illegal construction. Nor has he taken any action to provide alternative parking options for the tenants or their clientele. In fact he has gone further and attempted in the interim to reverse his original promise to provide a community space in this development which will instead create greater pressure on the already inadequate parking facilities that he provided to his tenants.
Even with the illegal parking, the Farm Village provides insufficient parking, less than it has indicated in its plans to the city on which basis the original development was approved. This problem has not been addressed by either City or Provincial authorities. Neither did either of these authorities act in any way to deal with the illegal activities of the developer.
This is why NEAG was forced to act. NEAG has been shown to be legally correct at every step of the way. NEAG has delivered an important series of judgements against developers which will hopefully prevent further illegal development of spaces which have no development rights or permission whatsoever.
While NEAG does not wish in any way to impact the Farm Village tenants it remains convinced that were the developer less inflexible in how this matter has been dealt with, this situation could easily have been avoided.
NEAG is pleased that this judgement reinforces its correctness in pursuing this matter. It is unfortunate that instead of adopting a reasonable approach in dealing with this matter the developer has a suspended sentence hanging over his head. He has furthermore probably wasted enough money in legal fees, defending the indefensible, to have paid for a new legal car park time and again.
That Wiley has illegally placed several businesses on land zoned as Public Open Space, while failing to provide any alternatives for them, demonstrates poor management of his tenant’s interests. If job losses do occur these can only be blamed on Wiley for his obdurate ignoral of the facts of law and his utter failure to plan for the eventuality which has now occurred.
The executive of NEAG are grateful that our legal system has demonstrated its robustness where the weak have been protected against unconstrained development. It is equally satisfied that all costs have been awarded against Wiley for his failure to act and for wasting time and resources on this matter which could have been settled by Wiley acting reasonably many years ago.
Press Release: Issued by The Noordhoek Environmental Action Group (NEAG) on 14th December 2011.
For more information please contact:
Rob Anderson 079 463 8992
Kathi Sales 082 953 6109
Glenn Ashton 083 403 2623