This letter was written by the 2016/2017 Chairperson of the Body Corporate. Your most recent emails of 10 November 2016 and 27 October 2016 refer.
In your email of 27 October 2016 (sent to us), you alleged that the Body Corporate had adopted a "rule" 10C that was evidence of a vendetta by the Body Corporate against your client. It subsequently transpired that you were referring to a directive 10.3(c) tabled for inclusion at the Annual General Meeting held on 20 October 2016. As your client should be aware, the same directive was tabled (and passed nem con) at the 2014 and 2015 AGMs. Consequently the inference that a standard agenda item (in accordance with Section 39(1) of the Sectional Titles Act) was targeting your client is wrong. If your client felt that the agenda item was unreasonable, he should have lodged an objection at the AGM. Even if your client was unable to be present at the meeting, the Act allowed your client to appoint a proxy who could have been anyone with his best interests at heart (a friend, a business associate or a lawyer, etc). The conclusion that agenda item 10.3(c) is evidence of a vendetta against your client is ill-informed and offensive.
Your claim of a vendetta is reminiscent of your earlier correspondence of 21 July 2016 that also made unsubstantiated claims that the trustees and managing agent were harassing your client, his friends and staff. You have, despite a request to do so, failed to provide any evidence of this ludicrous assertion. On the contrary, it is your client who has harassed the managing agent, trustees and residents of the complex via email, telephone and in person over a considerable length of time. This harassment was not confined to the members of the Body Corporate; in 2014 the Chairperson of the neighbouring Body Corporate instructed your client to stop inundating their complex manager with petty complaints.
In your email of 10 November 2016 (sent to the Body Corporate's managing agent), you make two points. The first point is "that the Body Corporate instructed its attorney to act on its behalf when it was not necessary." We strongly disagree that it "was not necessary." The managing agent, on 11 March 2016, had instructed your client to remove his surveillance cameras which were installed not merely in violation of his Body Corporate's Rules but in violation of South African law. Your client's response ("thanks for your infantile corresponds") was not conducive to further discussion. When a second complaint (from a second resident) about the cameras was received, the Body Corporate was left with no option but to go the legal route. Your client had been warned that his Body Corporate would take legal action and that he would be held liable for the costs. It should have come as no surprise to him when he was contacted by a lawyer and duly billed by his Body Corporate. A reasonable person would have avoided this state of affairs by immediately ceasing their illegal activity or, at the very least, indicating that they were open to having a rational discussion.
Your second point is that "The writer respectfully suggest that to resolve the matter such legal costs must be reversed..." Your proposal does not meet with our approval. Legal costs have been incurred that need to be borne by someone. If your client does not pay this legitimately incurred expense then the other 58 members of his Body Corporate would, on a participation quota basis, be liable for settling costs that have been sustained entirely because of your client's unreasonable behaviour (failing to immediately remove illegally-installed cameras that were causing understandable distress to residents). If an owner causes physical damage to the property of the Body Corporate, that owner alone is liable for the costs of any remedial action that needs to be taken. Similarly, when an owner causes societal damage to the functioning of their Body Corporate, that owner alone should bear the costs. Your client had been informed that his behaviour was utterly unacceptable and he should have foreseen, given the correspondence of 11 March 2016, that the members of his Body Corporate and its managing agents would no longer be prepared to tolerate his abuse. It was obvious that the matter would be handed over to a professional with concomitant professional costs. If your client believes that the trustees (who serve unpaid) were duty bound to indefinitely tolerate his provocations, his views are irrational. Rather than bemoaning the costs associated with having this matter attended to by a professional at professional rates, your client should consider how much time had already been devoted to him, without any cost to himself, but at the cost of significant amounts of wasted time to his trustees, complex manager and managing agent.
We do not believe that there is anything to be gained by exchanging further emails. Representatives of the Body Corporate are prepared to set aside time to meet with you and your client (and anyone else that you or he wish to invite) for an on the record meeting to seek a resolution to this matter. You may use this opportunity of a fair and frank exchange of views to furnish us with evidence of "harassment" and a "vendetta." We, in turn, will present examples of your client's antisocial correspondence going back more than a year. Given your client's long history of submitting complaints that are frivolous, insulting and defamatory coupled with the urgency required to get him to remove his illegally installed surveillance equipment, we will show that the Body Corporate acted entirely reasonably by using the services of a lawyer. We reject your characterization of the Body Corporate's actions as "reckless." It is your client who has behaved recklessly through his provocative actions. Kindly let us know at your earliest convenience what dates and times would suit you and your client to meet with representatives of the Body Corporate.
We note that your correspondence of 27 October 2016 makes reference to resolving your dispute with the Body Corporate in the High Court. The Body Corporate will vigorously defend any such action. Please note that we reserve our rights to take legal action outside of your threatened High Court action.
Your email of 10 November 2016 suggests that this matter should be "put to rest." The simplest way to put this matter to rest is for Mr Wegener to settle his account rather than demanding that 58 other members of his Body Corporate should pay to resolve a problem entirely of his making.