Illegal estate wall collapses onto neighbouring property

05 December 2017

After his neighbour's wall collapsed onto his home a week ago, Ravindra Bikramchund said Kindlewood Estate management in Mount Edgecombe had ignored his complaints about the wall going up more than six months ago.

Ravindra Bikramchund of Kindlewood Estate, Mount Edgecombe, in his yard where a neighbour's wall has fallen on his house.

The businessman estimated the damage at more than R5 million. He said he would sue the property owner and the estate management.

Kindlewood management distanced itself from the incident, saying it did not approve the construction work.

Bikramchund said he'd had reservations about the safety and integrity of the building work his neighbour undertook.

When the wall eventually collapsed last Thursday, it damaged three of Bikramchund's vehicles, injured his dog and killed some of his koi fish.

Heavy rain a day later resulted in secondary damage to the inside of his home.

He is upset that his family has had to move out of the luxury house.

This week, he sent a legal letter to his neighbour, Aroo Taryn Chinsamy, stating that he had been complaining about the wall for six months. It said the municipality had, in October, given Chinsamy 14 days to "remedy the dangerous situation that had been caused by the manner in which the wall had been constructed".

Bikramchund, 51, said he also informed his own insurance company about the damage to his property, via the legal letter.

He said he sent a letter of complaint to the estate management months ago about the wall, but no action was taken.

Bikramchand said he was tired of the way the estate management handled various situations, including the R2 000 fine he recently received when his gardener of 20 years walked on the road within the estate not far from his home.

His wife was also fined "speeding" within the estate.

"I will be challenging all of these matters legally. There is inconsistency in the application of the rules in the estate. While rules apply to some people, they do not apply to others, and that's not fair. It creates general discontent among residents," Bikramchand claimed.

Kindlewood Estate manager Jonathan Dreyer said management played its role in trying to resolve the issue of the collapsed wall.

"The owner tried to raise his ground level and management instructed him to stop building the wall initially. He didn't stick to the building plans and was fined for this. We then closed the site and called in the principal agent and the contractor.

"The construction of the wall was rejected on the grounds that he was building on the servitude. He needed the council's permission to build there. The retaining wall issue and the fine had been dealt with by the management," said Dreyer. for

He said the owner, of his own accord, had broken the rules.

"Management doesn't monitor the building of houses because we are not building inspectors. The owner has been called in for a formal meeting.

"Insurers are working on both sides to resolve the situation. Management has also played its role in terms of handling the situation. We are trying to mediate so that everybody can be happy," said Dreyer.

He said a second meeting had been held on Tuesday morning attended by the affected parties.

Several attempts by the Sunday Tribune to contact Chinsamy proved unsuccessful. He did not respond to calls or messages.

Jeff Gilmour of the Association of Residential Communities said the association would not comment on individual cases and that he was unaware of the particular matter.

He confirmed that Kindlewood Estate was part of the association.

The acting chairman of Kindlewood Estate, Mondli Msani, who is also a representative of Tongaat Huletts who own the overall land, asked for questions to be emailed to him but had not responded at the time of going to press.

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