Battle over boundary wall

Geoff and Francoise Liang, Milnerton

We met with Michael Bagraim for the first time after he had already started to build illegally on the boundary wall (“Wall causes divide,” Tabletalk October 23).

This was on Sunday July 21.

We told Mr Bagraim that he needed approved municipal plans. Mr Bagraim said he could not wait for plans.

He was fed up with the house and its problems with tenants.

He threatened to have squatters move in the house if we did not allow him to continue with his illegal works. We kept quiet.

He assumed that we gave our consent for him to continue building illegally.

The next day, on Monday, the building inspector told Mr Bagraim to stop the illegal wall extension.

Mr Bagraim was very upset.

He said we had an agreement and that he could now no longer trust us at all.

We told him that we did not consent to his illegal work.

Now Mr Bagraim claims that the whole boundary wall is illegal.

We did not replace the original boundary wall.

We merely repaired and reinforced the cracks on the boundary wall.

Mr Bagraim’s wife, Patsy, was informed of the state of the wall, and we told her that we would make it good at our own cost. As yet, no one has come to inspect the wall on our side.

Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt has not informed us that the wall is illegal.

Mr Bagraim has not given us any proof that the wall is illegal. Where to from here?

* Michael Bagraim responds: It is absolutely clear – from your article and confirmed by Mayco member Marian Nieuwoudt – that the wall built is illegal. Anything built on to that wall would likewise be illegal.

I cannot be in the wrong by refusing to add to an illegal wall.

Furthermore, I know that the wall previously was a vibracrete wall and not a brick one.

To say that “we did not replace the original boundary wall” is both wrong and disingenuous. The original wall was vibracrete.

I certainly didn’t threaten to have squatters move into the house, I merely stated that if we left the house empty that squatters would move in and we need to avoid that.

I told them that I would like to put more bricks on the wall, with their permission. In order to continue building I needed them to switch off the electrical fence.

They agreed to switch off the electrical fence so that we could remove it. We had an agreement which was then breached by them.

Unbeknown to me, the wall was in fact unstable which I only found out thereafter.

I did not assume that they gave me consent as they gave me consent verbally whilst standing with me and my tenant.

After numerous letters to and fro, I said to them that I no longer trusted them and that I would rather desist from litigating via the post.

It is not necessary to inspect both sides of the wall as the inspector came to my side of the wall and could see that there was no foundation.