Lawyer in property row

The paving of the illegal properties encroaches into the servitude.

The City of Cape Town is punishing a Plumstead conveying attorney cum property developer with a history of building first and asking questions later.

Mayco member for area south, Eddie Andrews, says, Wayne Hufkie has flouted building regulations in the past on three occasions, and the City is now preparing to issue him with yet another fine.

Mr Andrews says Mr Hufkie has paid a fine of R100 000 for illegal building in Sunbury Road in Elfindale, and has appealed a R100 000 fine for a Constantia property of which he did not supply details. Construction work, which the City says is illegal, on a third property, in Hancock Road, Plumstead, has been submitted to the Municipal Planning Tribunal and the amount of that fine and the exact nature of the building transgressions still need to finalised.

Mr Andrews said the illegal properties have not been demolished because Mr Hufkie has applied to pay fines so that he can correct the situation – something the Municipal Planning By-law allows.

Mr Hufkie, of Wayne Hufkie Attorney, Conveyancer and Administrator of Estates, is also the director of Midnight Feast Properties 157, the registered owner of the Hancock Road property.

Asked to comment, he sent the Bulletin a letter he wrote to the City in September 2016, explaining that in 2015 he had submitted a plan to the City for a double dwelling at Elfindale.

“I took out a mortgage bond to improve the property. I now became financially liable to make payment of the mortgage bond. My idea was to complete the structure as soon as possible, in order to make payment of the bond. I have not received any rental yet and am suffering financially as I must pay the bond.”

According to City documents, the fine for the Elfindale property, which is zoned single residential, was for illegally building two dwellings without permission.

This despite Mr Hufkie being served with two notices by a building inspector when the house was at foundation level.

Mr Hufkie bought 6 Hancock Road, in Plumstead, (erf 73891) at the beginning of 2017 and submitted a motivation letter for subdivision in April of that year. The letter, written by Kanga Muanda, director of JM Land Surveyors, says the reason for the subdivision application is to develop the existing dilapidated house into two portions which have vehicular access from Hancock Road and from the passage to the west of the property.

The size of the space, the letter says, was now a maintenance burden and attracted reptiles, illegal activities and dumping by vagrants.

Mr Muanda writes there is no longer a minimum property size policy in the area which is busy and densely populated and has a row of smaller properties to the northwest and the proposed houses on the subdivided property will be close to those erven and have minimal effect on the area. The application, he notes, is in line with the City’s densification policy.

In January this year, according to City documents, Mr Hufkie applied for subdivision of his property and the building of a “second dwelling” flush against the existing house. But by then the “second dwelling”, which turned out to be two semi-detached double-storey houses each with their own driveway, had already been built.

Mr Hufkie now finds himself at the centre of a row with his neighbours for allegedly building illegally, two extra houses, instead of one “second dwelling”.

St John Fuller, who lives in one of the small cottages in Waterford Road, claims Mr Hufkie is getting away with illegal construction.

Juliana Snyders, who has lived at 4 Hancock Road in Plumstead for 44 years, said Mr Hufkie had come to see her a week after buying Hancock Road in February 2017 and told her he would be making three properties with the intention to rent them out.

She said that based on plans she had seen at the City’s planning office in Plumstead, he was allowed to build one extra dwelling and not the two double-storey connected houses he had put up.

Also at the heart of the row is a servitude between the Hancock Road properties and some cottages in Waterford Road. Several residents use the servitude to reach their garages.

Ms Snyders said Mr Hufkie had asked her if she would grant him access to it for his properties but she had turned him down.

She is adamant that she owns the servitude and the rights as to who uses it. She has a document stating that the servitude is included with the land on which her house stands and the transfer took place in March 1926.

Ms Snyders’s son, Vaughn Snyders, said the servitudes were used in the late 1800s by horses and carts to access the bucket toilet system when the area was farmland. Today it is a dirt track the width of a vehicle.

“It was closed in 1983 and since it is no longer serves its purpose I sent a letter on May 29, 2017 to surrounding neighbours informing them of my intention to close the servitude because of security issues and vagrants,” Ms Snyders said.

The Bulletin asked the Department of Land Affairs and Rural Development to verify ownership of the servitude but it did not respond by the time this edition went to print.

According to Mr Andrews, the servitude is a public road which therefore permits vehicular access.

The new semi-detached houses Mr Hufkie built, face the servitude, and their driveways lead on to it.

Mr Fuller complained that run-off from the gutters of the new houses was causing flooding in the servitude in winter, and it was very dusty in summer because a lot of the surrounding vegetation had been removed by Mr Hufkie “under the pretence of tidying up”.

Ward 73 councillor Carol Bew said the City Transport and Urban Development Authority was processing a subdivision application for the property and the servitude issue would be investigated by the Municipal Planning Tribunal.

Mark van Wyk, chairman of Plumstead Civic and Ratepayers’ Association was asked to comment but said he only received the planning application from Ms Bew one week ago.

When the Bulletin pressed Mr Hufkie for comment about his activities in Hancock Road, we received an email from an attorney with a letter from Wayne Hufkie attached. It said he acted on behalf of Midnight Feast Properties 157, his own company and the registered owner of 6 Hancock Road. Midnight Feast, the letter said, was entitled to “exercise the benefits bestowed upon it in terms of the title deed conditions” and had rights in its favour in terms of city zoning. “We are