Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The City of Johannesburg has won a case against property developer, Century, thereby stopping the construction of a controversial student housing block in Auckland Park.

Century is building the 200-unit development on Streatley Avenue in Auckland Park but has been facing pressure from both residents and the city.

The developer and the city have been in court on numerous occasions where Century has tried to prove it was building with plans that were approved by the city’s town planning division. The city has meanwhile argued that the plans were never accepted by its building control officer.

The officer who would have assessed Century's plans was suspended after construction had already begun on the development. He is undergoing a disciplinary hearing, and a replacement has been appointed in an acting capacity.

The Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa ruled on Friday that Century was effectively building illegally as the provisional section 7(6) of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act that it had been using was invalid.

Century has twenty one days to appeal after which, should it fail, the city can pursue a section 21 order for the demolition of the development.

Poppy Louw, spokesperson for the City of Johannesburg said on Friday: "The department of development planning welcomes the judgement and will release a full statement on Monday".

Century CEO Mark Corbett said he would comment when the judgement was published this week.

Corbett has repeatedly argued that Century has met the requirements necessary for the development, which is situated near a Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System route. "It would bring much-needed high quality student housing and help to densify the suburb."

SA’s national student housing bed shortage sits at least 2,500 beds each year, Owen Nkomo, a director at Inkunzi Student Accommodation said.

Residents have argued that the development will bring degradation to the suburb, one of the oldest in Johannesburg, established in 1888, and that it will lead to a fall in house prices.