Section 24(j) of the Rand Water Board Incorporation Ordinance requires Rand Water Board to give seven days’ notice before laying a pipeline across private property (as it is entitled to do). This does not mean that if they do not give proper notice the presence of the pipeline after it is laid is unlawful.
The owner of a property absurdly suggested that the failure to give seven days’ notice of intention to lay two pipelines in 1971 and 1972 entitled the present and subsequent owner to compensation for the unlawful act.
Rand Water was exercising a statutory power. The purpose of giving seven days’ notice is not an objection period (the pipeline would have been planned long before the notice was given) but for the convenience of those on the property to get out the way whilst the pipeline is being laid. Because a statutory power was being exercised Rand Water did not require a servitude over the property.
The claim in Rand Water Board v Big Cedar 22 (Pty) Ltd for R32 million compensation was dismissed and an award of compensation by the lower court was said to be ‘plainly untenable’.