Controlling Body of the Acacia Close Building N.O v Bloch and Another (APPEAL 308 of 1996)  NAHC 38 (13 December 1996);
THE HIGH COURT OF NAMIBIA _
the matter between
ACACIA CLOSE BUILDING NO. 58/1993 APPLICANT
NAOMI BLOCH SECOND
on: 1996.12.06 Delivered on: 1996.12.13
applicant in this matter is the
body of a sectional title scheme. The deponent on behalf of the
controlling body, a Mr Bester, is the chairman of its trustees. First
respondent is a legal practitioner of this Court and second
respondent is his wife who is an owner of one of the sectional titles
units in the scheme and thus also owner of an undivided share in the
common property pursuant to the provisions of the Sectional Titles
Act, 66 of 1971 (the Act).
applicant launched the application seeking certain relief against the
respondents which are no longer relevant to this matter as the
application was withdrawn. The respondents however did not
only resist the original application but also launched a
counter-application which is the application that now falls to be
the counter-application an order is sought directing applicants to
remove a pergola from the front of a unit within the scheme which
belongs to its chairman. Counsel for the applicant informed me from
the bar that although the chairman was not joined in his capacity as
owner of the relevant unit he was instructed not to take the point of
non-joinder and that the chairman undertook to abide by the decision
of the Court. With this undertaking given I was prepared to hear the
Bester sought permission at a meeting of trustees to erect a pergola
similar to other pergolas already in existence in front of the garage
to his unit. Permission was granted and the pergola was erected.
Photographs showing the other pergolas as well as the one under
consideration formed part of the papers before Court. From these
photographs it is clear that Bester's pergola is constructed in the
same fashion as the others. Indeed this
also stated by the respondents in so many words. "
illegal pergola has been erected in the same form as the other (but
legal) pergolas on the premises." The pergolas consist of two
vertical iron poles situated some distance from the garage doors.
Wooden beams affixed to the outside walls of the units stretch from
the garage doors over the top of these iron poles to which the beams
are also attached. On top of this structure further wooden beams are
horizontally placed at regular intervals to complete the
pergolas. From the photographs it is clear that the length of these
pergolas are such as to cover a sedan motor vehicle.
the affidavit of the first respondent the following appears in
relation to the pergola erected by Mr Bester:
without the unanimous consent of all unit
of the premises, Bester, , erected a
in front of and adjoining his unit."
the 'Bester pergola' has been erected on the
use area of the premises "
so erecting the pergola on the common use area
unanimous consent of the other unit holders
Bester has created the
position of having a further
exclusive area attached to his unit."
no consideration by way of purchase price or
has even been offered or paid for the said privilege."
having so 'acquired' and 'attaching' this area of
land to his unit
Bester has likewise increased the
value of his unit with the
corresponding decrease in
value of the other units by virtue of
the reduction in
area of the common use area."
so erecting the pergola and as such
the common use area on which it is situated Bester has obtained full
title to the said area free of any consideration."
terms of the original plan for the section title scheme as a
whole three distinctive areas were provided for, namely;
buildings, common use areas and exclusive use
areas. As I understand this the buildings represent the
individual units over which the registered owners acquired genuine
individual ownership. The exclusive use areas are part of the
common property to which only certain unit holders have
unqualified access. On the original plan of the scheme these
were what was intended as gardens attached to each unit as
well as the original pergolas. The remaining area is
the common use area. It must be borne in mind that the term
"exclusive use area" is not a legal term but just a term
to describe a factual situation. (The legal term used in
later South African legislation is not applicable to
Namibia.) Thus the exclusive use areas of the present sectional
titles scheme are part of the common property that
have been set aside for exclusive use by certain unit
owners. These owners are not the sole owners of these areas
but own only an undivided share in these areas together with
the other unit owners.
complaints against the erection of the pergola can be placed into
two categories and that is also how the first respondent approached
the matter in argument, namely; the requisite consent was not
obtained to erect this pergola on common property and alternatively
as the erection of the pergola amounted to an extension of the
unit of Bester the requisite consent for this was also not obtained.
terms of section 32(d) of the Act an owner in a sectional title
scheme must "use and enjoy the common property in such a manner
as not unreasonably to interfere with the use and
thereof by other owners " In my view this
is relevant to the present proceedings because of the locality of
the pergola in question. It is situated directly in front of
the garage of Bester. Thus no one else can park there in the
normal course of events as this will prevent Bester from gaining
access by car to and from his garage. This area is in fact an
exclusive use area despite not being officially demarcated as such
on the plan of the original scheme. The extremely slight
interference, if any, with pedestrian traffic seeing that the
pergola itself has no wall on the one side and no door to its
"entrance" is probably of such a nature that the
de minimus non curat lex
is applicable. Thus what happened was that the trustees were
asked permission to demarcate an area which was in fact an exclusive
use area in a similar fashion as the other exclusive use areas.
question which now arises is if the trustees could consent to this
or whether the consent of the other unit holders were necessary.
First respondent maintained that the consent of the other owners
were necessary as the erection of the pergola was not part of the
control, management and administration of the common areas which are
the duties of the trustees.
27 of the Act makes provision for rules to govern the control and
management of sectional title developments. Section 27(2) insofar as
it is relevant to the present matter reads as follows:
(a) The rules shall provide for the control,
management, administration, use and enjoyment
the common property, and shall
the rules contained in Schedule 1 which shall not be added to,
amended or repeated except by unanimous resolution of the members of
the body corporate;
the rules contained in Schedule 2 which may be added to, amended or
repeated by special resolution of the members of the body corporate;
Until such times as special rules are made
the control and management , the
set forth in Schedules 1 and 2 shall,
in force "
terms of section 29 of the Act the body corporate is charged with
the duties assigned to it under the Act or the rules including the
duty to "control, manage and administer the common
property for the benefit of all owners."
29 (j)). It is common cause that Schedule 1 and 2 of the Act are the
rules applicable in the present matter. Rule 3 of Schedule 2 reads
duty shall be placed on any owner in regard to the provision of any
improvement on or to the common property unless a proposal to make
such improvement has been approved by a special resolution at a
general meeting of owners of sections."
the workings of the provisions of section 32 (d) of the Act the
area involved was a de facto
exclusive use area.
the further "use and enjoyment" (section 27(a)) of this
common property could be decided on by the trustees subject to Rule
3 of Schedule 2 which is what they did and adhered to. No duty was
placed on any other owner by this improvement (erection of the
pergola) to the common property. No special procedure or unanimous
consent is required by the Act for a decision of this nature and the
trustees were thus entitled to take such a decision (section 31). In
short the decision of the trustees did not change the nature of the
property or its use and neither did it effect that rights or duties
of any other unit holder detrimentally and thus fell within the
trustee's powers. The use was not in issue and the trustees in their
power to control, manage and administer this use was entitled to
permit Bester to erect a pergola which did nothing but demarcate the
area which use did not change or was affected at all.
next question to decide is if the erection of the pergola amounted
to an extension of Bester's unit. If this is the case it is clear
that the necessary consent was not obtained. Extensions are dealt
with in section 18 of the Act. In terms of this section if a
building "is to be extended in such a manner that an existing
section is to be added to" the written consent of all the other
owners as well as all the holders of sectional mortgage bonds and
registered real rights must be obtained.
my view the building belonging to Bester was not extended at all.
A structure in the nature of a lean-to was affixed to the existing
building. The existing building was not extended at all. Not all
additions amount to extensions. (Control
Body of Lelane Building NO 23 of 1976 v Van Heerden,
1992(4) SA 585 (SECLD). Section 18 stipulates from whom consent is
required. These are all persons whose existing rights may be
prejudiced by extensions to existing units. This also indicates the
nature of additions that will amount to an extension of an existing
building. Where the alteration or addition is such as not to affect
the rights of the persons mentioned in section 18 it is not likely
to be an extension as provided for in that section. (Lelane
at 590 D - H).
now briefly deal with the objections raised in first respondent's
affidavit and enumerated above and in the same order:
did not obtain the unanimous consent of all the
unit holders but
did obtain the permission of the
trustees to erect the pergola
which was sufficient;
pergola was erected on an area specified as "common
area" in the plan indicating the lay-out of the
was in fact however not "common use" area
due to the
workings of section 32(d) of the Act but an
exclusive use area
which still forms part of the common
property as does all the
other areas described as
"exclusive use areas" on the
did not create a further "exclusive use area", he just
demarcated an existing one. Here it must again be kept in mind that
terminology and concepts from the South African legislation seems to
be used by first respondent which is not applicable in Namibia.
did not pay a purchase price or rental for the
area as he did not
purchase it and as he was entitled
to use it in any event I
cannot see how rental is of
any relevance. In any event the
approval by the
trustees did not require any payment from him.
the so-called "common use area" indicated on
was reduced the common property was not, nor
was the use, nor is
there any factual basis for the
averment in the papers that the
values of any of the
units were detrimentally affected.
title to the area covered by the pergola can only
be obtained if
the necessary documentation in the Deeds
Registry is altered.
This was not done and the
allegation made in this regard is
question of costs remain. The initial application related to the
question of security for the whole complex and whether a certain
type of security fence or spikes could be placed on walls
surrounding the walls of second respondent's unit. The only legal
question was what kind of authority the trustees needed to affect
this and whether they had the necessary authority. Not content with
limiting himself to this aspect the first respondent chose to vilify
the chairman of the trustees with vexatious attacks on his
character. Thus he accused Bester of being a racialist and
anti-Semite. First respondent apparently was exceptionally
distressed by this because:
went into exile for 22 years to help the black people and when I
come back after independence I find that apartheid is as strong as
already stated whether Bester was or is indeed a racialist or
anti-semite and whether first respondent did go into exile to help
black people had nothing to do with the matter at hand and first
respondent's holier-than-thou cant in this regard was totally
uncalled for. To make matters worse this is repeated in the replying
affidavit. When he is not satisfied by rulings made by Bester as
chairman of the trustees he writes arrogant letters sarcastically
referring to Bester as "Judge Bester."
fact the picture that emerges of first respondent is not a very
attractive one but one of an unreasonable holier-than-thou whining
mother Grumpy. As second respondent associates herself with first
respondent she cannot escape the consequences of first respondent's
behaviour. In my view this is a proper case for a special order as
to costs. Indeed I indicated to first respondent at the hearing of
this application that I would consider not granting him an order for
costs even if I found in his favour. On a rereading of the papers I
am convinced that first respondent's behaviour in this matter was
nothing less than a nightmare come true for the trustees of
applicant and totally unworthy of a senior practitioner of this
Court and that as a mark of disapproval the respondents should be
ordered to pay the costs of this application on a legal practitioner
and client scale.
the result the counter-application by first and second respondents
are dismissed with costs on a legal practitioner and client scale.
BEHALF OF THE APPLICANT: ADV.
KRUGER & HARTMANN
BEHALF OF THE RESPONDENTS: Instructed by:
B BLOCH B BLOCH & CO