Court ruling against estates with regards to public road usage | Legal Articles


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Court ruling against estates with regards to public road usage

In a court ruling in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, an issue was presented when the daughter of Mr Singh, a Mount Edgecombe resident, was fined for speeding on the estate. 


The family were then denied access to the estate because Mr Singh refused to pay the speeding fine.
Mr Singh applied for urgent spoliatary relief for being denied access to his property and the Property Association filed a counter-application entitling them to suspend Mr Singh from using access cards until the fine was paid. 

Estate not allowed to enforce traffic laws

The court found that the estate was not allowed to enforce traffic laws however the association needed to regulate traffic. 

To do this they are required by law to obtain permission from the local authorities and they cannot enforce these laws on the basis of a contractual agreement which could govern other factors of living on an estate. 

If the Association fail to obtain this permission then they will be unable to enforce levy fines as a result of the a resident speeding in the estate. 

This was the responsibility of the Minister of Transport or the authorised delegate.

Freedom of movement of domestic employees

Another issue that was dealt with in the case was with regards to freedom of movement of domestic employees who were working for Mr Singh. 

The strict laws that governed the movement of domestic employees within the estate created restrictions. 

This was because they were not allowed to walk on the roads and could only gain access between 6:00am and 6:00pm. 

The courts ruled that the restrictions imposed on the domestic workers implied that they were a security risk even though they could walk their employers dogs or push prams on the roads. 

In this situation, the fundamental rights of the domestic workers were restricted, which was unconstitutional. 
A misconceived idea that an estate is entitled to exercise control over public roads is something that the judges in this case warned against. 

Such thinking is considered unreasonable and unlawful. 

And as a result it was concluded that, while it may be due to ignorance or arrogance that the estate thought they had such authority, it was about time that they started complying with statutory provisions. 

Van Deventers & Van Deventers Incorporated - Property Lawyers Johannesburg

For legal advice on applying estate rules and levy fines, please contact us.

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