East London businessman Mcebisi Ntlikithi this week threw in the towel and agreed to a high court order in terms of which much of his plush R4-million multi-storey Nahoon River Estate mansion was declared unlawfully built.
Large parts of the house will now have to be demolished.
The controversial building has long been the subject of high court litigation with Ntlikithi’s neighbours Vanessa and Brian Burrows – who own two houses in Pearl Road next to the Ntlikithi’s work-in-progress – arguing the house is higher, wider and bigger than regulations allow and was not in line with the approved building plans.
In terms of the order, the Buffalo City Metro, which is also a respondent in the litigation, has been given just 20 days to seek the required court order compelling Ntlikithi to demolish those sections of his magnificent home that are unlawful.
Ntlikithi has also agreed in the meantime to stop ongoing building operations on his eight-year-long building project which has expanded phenomenally in size and cost.
According to court papers, Ntlikithi got permission from BCM in 2009 to build his home in the exclusive estate, but then deviated from the approved plans.
As the structure grew last year, the alarmed Burrows couple complained to the municipality. The municipality took a year to inspect and then issue a compliance notice to Ntlikithi.
But the only concern the compliance notice stressed, was the addition of a single room not shown on the plans.
But in reality, argued Advocate Dave de la Harpe, there were several deviations. It included the addition of another ground-floor lounge, a further second-storey lounge and bedroom. The height of the flat-roofed building had, by then, exceeded 7m.
By law, a flat-roofed structure’s height should not exceed 6m.
The final straw for the couple was the addition of a third storey.
Court papers suggest Ntlikithi added a roof and enclosing walls to an area that was supposed to be an open-roof garden on a two-storey building – effectively turning it into a three-storey structure. An outside stairway was also added that, they say, was not on the original plans.
The total height of the building, say court papers, stands at a whopping 10.2m, some 4m over the permitted height.
In total, the building increased from 686m² to 750m² which meant the house covered a total of 71.83% of the erf. In terms of zoning regulations, the structure should not cover more than 50%.
The Burrows’ Grahamstown-based attorney Mark Nettelton yesterday confirmed that Ntlikithi had also agreed to an interdict in terms of which he would, pending the demolition application, stop all building operations.