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Verulam

In May we included a letter from Mr. N. Thomas, a South African member, in the continuing discussion about the judgement in the Anns case. He quoted section 23 of South Africa S National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977, which we took to indicate that local authorities there were absolved from responsibility for their duties in situations similar to Anns. We were mistaken. Mr. Thomas now writes to correct us: Thank you for publishing my letter re. our new building law here in the Republic. With regards to your comments/queries I must point out that our section 23 does not exempt a local authority from having to give redress for negligence. Common law still prevails. You asked what sanction is there to ensure that the local authority will carry out its duty with proper care? Here I refer to our section 27 which lays down that the Minister, after consultation with the Council of the South African Bureau of Standards and the Administrator of the Province in question, is enabled to order a local authority to apply any provision of the Act. If the local authority 'without reasonable cause fails to comply within a reasonable time' the Minister (after further consultation) can deprive that local authority of any power . . . conferred upon or entrusted to it by the Act. This deprived power is then conferred to 'any person, including the Administrator', and that person then becomes, for the purposes of such power, the local authority. Verulam