The downtown Durban slum building that became a poster child for rehabilitation
Success followed a decade of legal wrangling to clear a Durban building that had turned into a no-go zone
Blessing Mbhele, a buff bodyguard turned building manager, has an angelic smile that changes in an instant when he means business. He is one of a team responsible for an inner-city transformation in downtown Durban that turned a blight on the landscape to a poster boy for rehabilitation. Ana Capri is a block of 56 apartments, some with harbour views, overlooking the green lung of Albert Park. In 2004 Trafalgar Properties founder Neville Schaefer teamed up with now-deceased property guru and inner-city enthusiast Ian Fife. Schaefer and Fife became involved in Ana Capri out of their interest in inner-city property. But soon afterwards, the building’s body corporate was deep in the red because of levy arrears. First-time owners unused to paying levies missed their payments and debt piled high.
Trafalgar, SA’s largest residential property management company, which cares for 100,000 flats in 1,500 buildings countrywide, offered the body corporate a levy solutions product — a loan t...