Durban Point developer sues water sports clubs for millions in damages

10 October 2017

The Durban Point Development Company (DPDC), which has gone to court to evict two water sports clubs accusing them of standing in the way of a R35-billion upgrade of the harbour-mouth area near Vetch’s beach, has turned up the legal heat and issued a summons for “special” damages of more than R12m from the clubs.

On top of this, the company is also seeking an order that the clubs – the Point Yacht Club and the Durban Paddle Ski Club – collectively pay it about R9-million a month from January next year if the eviction matter drags on.

The summons was issued out of the Durban High Court this week.

In it, the company says it is the owner of the property on which the two clubs are situated.

“The said occupation has been, and is, against the will of the company….their occupation without a legal right … is a wrongful act which entitles us to claim damages.”

The summons says the two clubs know that the company wants to proceed with the Point development and with the extension of the beachfront promenade “which is a vital initiating component” of the further extension of the area.

“The occupied portions are situated within the development area and vacant possession is required.

“Any delay will cause the company special damages in at least the amounts equivalent to the inflationary increases in construction costs.”

The summons notes that the company has applied for the eviction of the two clubs but they are opposing this and the matter is expected to be argued in the Durban High Court at the end of this month.

“Having regard to this date and allowing a reasonable time for the delivery of a judgment and the advent of builders holidays from about December 15 to about January 15 2018 (assuming that the clubs vacate the property during that period), the delay, already occasioned by their actions, will be from when construction was due to start on August 30, 2017 until at least January 15, 2018.

Sticking to a ‘memorandum of understanding’

“In the event that they do not vacate – by reason of any pending appeal – then special damages will extend beyond such date until the date they actually do vacate.”

The clubs have 10 days to file notices of opposition. In its eviction application, the company – which is half owned by the eThekwini Municipality and half by a Malaysian Consortium – says the refusal by the two clubs to leave the premises would cost R37 million a year – or about R100 000 a day. On top of that, the roll-out of the entire 15-year R35 billion project would be delayed, eroding investor confidence.

Project manager Soban Gangaraju said the promenade development would include accommodation for the water sports clubs, but only two – the Durban Undersea Club and the Durban Ski Boat Club – agreed to move into temporary premises while it was being constructed.

A source, who did not wish to be named, said there were ongoing negotiations between all parties which, if successful, would mean all the litigation would fall away.

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue