NATIONAL NEWS - Two La Ballito property owners were barred from staying in their own flat last week, because of over-zealous application of lockdown procedures.
A simple business trip, with permits all accounted for, turned into a nightmare for steel industry business owners Lucia and Peter Elsmore, who arrived in Ballito on the evening of 13 August from Gauteng, they recounted to North Coast Courier.
Tired and hungry, the couple headed into the reception area of the La Ballito apartment complex where they were asked to sign in and complete standard Covid-19 screening protocols.
This they did, but the situation quickly deteriorated.
“After taking our temperatures, a security guard asked us if we were the owners of the property, to which we answered yes,” said Lucia.
But instead of being welcomed in, Lucia and Peter were told they could not stay at their flat because of Covid-19 legislation.
The legislation referred to is unclear.
For several hours they argued with security, a caretaker and the Johannesburg-based chairman of La Ballito’s body corporate, with no success.
Despite being in possession of the relevant permits and owning the property, they were ordered to leave the building.
That is when they called on the police for help.
“The police said the body corporate had no right to deny us entry to our premises,” said Lucia.
However, even after the Saps and Lucia and Peter together contacted the chairman, he still argued that entry would not be allowed.
At this point, the couple called their attorney, who eventually persuaded the chairman to allow them into their flat.
The Elsmores are not the only owners who have been denied access to their units.
Tour operators Sandra and Kobus Spangenberg told the Courier that they had been turned away after arriving in Ballito at the weekend.
They had no alternative but to book into a hotel.
They were apparently told that government regulations did not permit them to stay at their own home. “We have still not been allowed back,” said Kobus.
The property management agency which runs La Ballito, Attlee Agency, said that they had consulted with the chairman of the body corporate, Clive Wertheimer.
Noting that they had tenants infected with coronavirus on-site, Wertheimer said that they had issued occupants with briefs which requested them to make prior contact with the body corporate before taking occupation.
“The owners arrived and were screened. They proceeded to take occupation defying security’s request to wait until they first verified knowledge of such occupation with the Covid-19 officer. The owners defied this request,” said Wertheimer, who said the requests were denied because they had not followed procedure.
Wertheimer claimed Saps refused to provide him with a written statement permitting occupation.
Only after Lucia and Peter’s attorney contacted Wertheimer was occupation granted.
“The owner was contacted by myself, where it was stated to the owners that this incident was very unfortunate and could have easily been averted.
“The owner agreed and requested the matter to be left at that. The trustee thanked the owner for the mature attitude adopted in conclusion of the matter,” Wertheimer said.
The owners denied Wertheimer’s version of events.
“This matter is far from concluded, in fact, I am taking it to the Ombudsman of Sectional Title,” Lucia said.