|27 October 2016||Damp works. Now that the summer is upon us, the work on the exterior of the building will re-commence.
Right now we are waiting for pemissions from the Western Cape Heritage
office but hopefully this will not take more than a few weeks. |
Owners and residents who consider that they have urgent damp problems to deal with are invited to contact us
in order to register them, and so that we can prioritise the work
accordingly. Bear in mind that we have already undertaken two
surveys, in 2008 and in 2012, the results of which can be perused here.
This history is the basis of our current prioritisation. Check
out the history before submitting your reports.
|3 October 2016||Optical Fibre data services.
Please be advised that we are evaluating the options for the
installation of fibre communications services in the building.
There are a range of options, but following the survey (see below) it
looks like we will go ahead. Owners or residents with experience
of local or other fibre internet services are invited to share them
with trustees, as we assemble all the evidence and make the decision
which way to go. |
|29 February 2016|
2016 Internet and Web site Survey:
Owners and Residents
are invited to complete a new survey that is intended to
evaluate the installation of FIBRE SERVICES to the building, and the
style and content of THIS WEB SITE. It's on Google Forms, and it
can be found here:
|29 February 2016||Newsletter 35 is now available with the others here
. It deals with the deployment of the settlement funds, the levy
increase, the Internet and Web Site survey (yes, that's THIS web site),
and other things. |
|7 February 2016||A maintenance schedule is now available on the web site, here, and will be updated monthly. Any reports of maintenance problems that need attention can be sent to email@example.com.|
|26 December 2015||Conclusion of the
litigation with Old Mutual:
In November, two judgements were handed down by the High Court in
Cape Town, in light of which the defendent made an offer to settle the
matter. This was accepted and the agreed amount has been
transferred to the Body Corporate. The matter is therefore now closed.
The two judgements include some relevance should other
sectional title disputes come to a similar situation, as South African
law is seemingly devoid of any previous cases where a Body Corporate
persued a 'developer' for eight years, with a satisfactory outcome.
The judgements are available for download here.
Note that these are scanned and quite poor quality images that
might not show in your browser - download the files and open them in a
proper PDF viewer.
|17 November 2015||Newsletter Number 32
summarises the situation at the end of the second week of the
litigation. This week there has been more activity 'in chambers' than
in the High Court. The newsletter is available here.|
|9 November 2015||Newsletter Number 31 about our claim against the developers, which is now in the High Court, is available here.|
|8 January 2015||I
just found out how to top up your Dynacomm internet services from
anywhere in the world - really useful when your paying guests call you
to complain that THEIR card is not accepted. The internet payment gateway that Dynacomm use seems to have problems with foreign cards from time to time. What you have to do is go directly to the purchase page here:|
choose the package that you want from the list. It leads you
painlessly through the process, provided that YOUR card is accepted.
The system them emails you and sends a text to your phone with
the log on details that you can pass on to your guests or whoever
is in the apartment at the time. Please tell us if you have
problems with the service that Dynacomm provide, they tell me that they
are working on a new system ...
|17 December 2014||Examples of the latest SCAM "correspondence" are available for your inspection here - do not get involved in "deals" that look like this ...|
|17 November 2014||Newsletter Number 29 about progress with the damp works and our claim against the developers is available here.|
|19 October 2014||Minutes of the AGM are now available here. |
|1 October 2014||The
AGM is done, thank you to those that attended and those that sent in
proxy forms. The minutes of the meeting will be available soon.
In the meantime, please have a look at "How to be a good neighbour in Mutual Heights" - guidelines that were attached to the Chairman's report, and which are now loaded here for all to see.
I am also making available an edited version of the story of the creation of our famous stone frieze
(and the other decorations on the building) provided some time ago by
Giovanni Adolfo Camerada; he kindly provided details of his
family's memories about the context in which the stone masons worked,
as work on the building progressed at the same time that WWII broke
out, in 1938-39. Giovanni has a copy of this edited summary, and
I am sure he will fill in any further details that he has, especially
if anyone has questions. This is a really interesting story,
which highlights the question of who should get the credit for works of
art like the frieze: the one who conceived it (Ivan Mitford-Barberton) or those who executed it (Adolfo Lorenzi and his four brothers) - go read this story now!
|12 September 2014||Those people expecting to attend the Annual General Meeting on 22nd September
(usual time, usual place) please note that there will be an update to
the Chairman's report following the completion of the investigative
window removal, inspection and refurbishment project. Reports are
being prepared right now. This will provide some clarification
about the state of the building and the steps that we must take.
You should try hard to be there, or if not to make sure that you
have completed and submitted your proxy form. The meeting papers
are available from the management office. Thank you!
|12 September 2014||And yet another update regarding rental scams (we need to open a new section for these reports!) the new name and message is as follows: |
Brenda Masilela [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 11 September 2014 10:13 PM
Subject: RE: New contact for: 2br Apartment for Rent! Cape Town
I'm a project manager in civil engineering. I just moved in West
Africa because my company has won an auction for a big construction
project. I'll stay here for the next 3-4 years or more so I won't come
back soon. I'm looking for someone to live in my Apartment from there.
will tell you from the beginning that I don't have a problem if you are
a student or if you would like to keep pets there, as long as you clean
up after them. The minimum lease is available for Long and also Short
Term Lease, very important, the utilities are included in the price per
Address: 14 Darling Street, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
This scammer uses the same photo as the one below (which bears no resemblance to our building!) ... please do not get involved!
|11 July 2014||
And yet another update regarding rental scams - the new name is "Marthie tracy (email@example.com)" using the same familiar format - avoid this one please! Many
of the scams use this photograph of the "apartment":
This NOT an
apartment in Mutual Heights, you can tell immediately from the design
of the windows (compare this picture with the the photo of the building
above, and elsewhere).
|2 June 2014||
Yet another update regarding rental scams - the new name is "Gabriel Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org)" using the same familiar format - avoid this one please!
|3 April 2014||
Yet another update regarding rental scams - the new name is "Dickson John" (email@example.com)
advertising on Gumtree. In case you have not seen enough of how
this is done, here is an extract from the opening correspondence:
From: dickson john <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 2 April 2014 10:54
Subject: RE: Reply to your Ad on Gumtree: "1 Bedroom with Garage, Water
& Trash Paid"
I got a contract job in an engineering company for a construction project as
part of the structural engineers to build a highrise building in West Africa. I
am a Building tech specialist, so my accommodation period in Lagos will be
about 4 years, so that's the reason why i am renting out the unit. I do not
intend to make profit out of it all i want is to find a good and clean person
to take good care of the place. I`m the owner of the unit and it is furnished
but if you want you can make use of your furniture's and help keep mine in the
storage locker which is situated both in the unit and in the building and these
does not attracts any funds.
and so on ... still looking for a "good and clean person"
! See the note below (1st Feb) if you want to verify the
authenticity of any offers purporting to concern apartments at Mutual
|19 February 2014||A newsletter (number 28) about progress with the damp works, legal claim and the forthcoming special levy is here.|
|1 February 2014||Yet another update regarding rental scams - the new name is "Dyan Ellie" (email@example.com )
advertising on Gumtree (but we see the ad has been removed).
Beware if you see this scam elsewhere, the "story" concerns
working "for the United Nations
Development Programmed (UNDP)
http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home.html in NIGERIA, so my
accommodation period in LAGOS will be about 2 years, so that's the
reason why i am renting out the unit. I do not intend to make profit
out of it all i want is to find a good and clean person to take
good care of the place." If you have never seen these
scams before, this is exactly the sort of invention that the scammers
use. A hint of credibility with a meaningless and unsubstantiated
link to the UN (or somewhere with a web site!), an international move
pending or just happened, and "just looking for a good and clean person ...". |
If you want to verify a rental opportunity at Mutual Heights, you can approach the management office but please provide the NAME of the OWNER and the APARTMENT NUMBER - without this information we can not help you. Please note that the Building Management and the Body Corporate do NOT get directly involved in renting and sales - there are many agencies that will assist you, and web sites that will inform you.
|14 January 2013||Questionnaire regarding the condition of the windows
- This is the last call for your questionnaires about the
condition of the windows. We need this simple information for the
legal arguments. ~|
If that does not work for you a short newsletter has gone out that includes a printable version of the form.
|25 November 2013||Questionnaire regarding the condition of the windows
- Trustees have been extremely busy with
the legal processes concerning our claim against the developers - Old
Mutual Properties - based upon the problems we have been experiencing
with damp. It has, after all, been a very long and wet winter
here in the Western Cape. A particular issue has arisen in regard
to the condition of the windows, and the corrosion that was known about
right at the start of the conversion project (but again, seems to have
not been dealt with properly). Owners and residents are invited
to fill out a very short questionnaire concerning the condition of the
"mullions" - those are the square, steel posts on either side of your
windows. Please go to the online questionnaire here, or you can download a printable version that you can return to the office here.
We will also be distributing actual paper copies of the
questionnaire to all apartments - if you are in the building you can
wait to take that option if you wish. Thanks. |
|2 September 2013||There are NEW instructions for setting up your DSTV decoder - both "Single View" and "PVR" decoders. If necessary, there are even instructions for erasing your "Flash Memory" (we hope, for your sake, it does not come to that ... !) |
26 June 2013
Yet another update regarding rental scams - The latest SCAMMER is using the name "Elizabeth Alan"
and the email firstname.lastname@example.org - you are
warned. There are other scammers around. Send us
details including name and apartment number that is offered, if you are
|3 May 2013||The May 2013 newsletter is here
- number 24. The first distribution (by email) was erroneously
dated "October 2013" - it should have said "May 2013" of course.
Sorry for any confusion ...|
|26 April 2013||Yet another update regarding rental scams - the new name is "Shin Nelson" (email@example.com )
and he has been advertising on: http://www.freepropertyads.co.za.
He provides photographs that are clearly not of our building.
| March 2013||Yet another update regarding rental scams - reports have been received that someone calling him or herself Vivian Joseph" is offering an apartment in Mutual
Heights, with photos. This is another scam. Again, you should not send ANY money to people you do not know, until you are COMPLETELY satisfied that they are genuine.|
|2nd January 2013
||Update regarding rental scams - reports have been received that someone calling himself Tony Floris
<firstname.lastname@example.org> is offering an apartment in Mutual
Heights. It does not exist, and the photos he is using to
advertise the "apartment"have been taken from the web.
Do not send ANY money to people you do not know, until you are COMPLETELY satisfied that they are genuine.
|10 September 2012
|Details of insurance "excess" (the amount that a claimant has to pay in the event of a claim) are now available here.
|NOTICE TO PROSPECTIVE
Be very careful - this building and others in Cape Town are still the subject of multiple scams that will defraud you if you are suckered in - see below for one example.
Do not send ANY money to people you do not know until you are COMPLETELY satisfied that they are genuine.
The building management office
will be happy to check the names of people claiming to "own" properties
here. There is very little else that we can do about this. Caveat emptor.
17 July 2012
AGM is to be held on Thursday this week - please can all owners
endeavour to be there, or make sure you complete and submit a proxy
form to the management office. The agenda and proxy form are available here. The Chairman's report is also here in case you want to read it before the meeting.
|09 March 2012
|This is an ANODE -
in fact a SACRIFICIAL ANODE - and you should have one in your
These anodes need to be replaced at least every five years otherwise
could be headed for trouble (even a complete geyser replacement). We are
thinking of organising a "bulk buy" whereby your anodes can be replaced at
optimum cost, probably over a chosen weekend. If you are
seeing what the cost would be, please contact the office so that we can
add your name to the list.
Click on the picture to see a larger image.
UPDATE 2013 - the bulk buy did not materialise - sorry, but you have to make arrangements yourself.
|29 February 2012
||The DSTV equipment has
been upgraded and there are NEW instructions for setting up your SINGLE
VIEW decoder here, and your HD PVR decoder here .
|22 February 2012
||The Chairman's newsletter
for February 2012 is now available here.
We are asking Owners and Occupiers to complete a simple survey
concerning the damp works - a web version of the questionnaire can be
One response only per unit please!
| 1 December 2011
|| NOTICE TO PROSPECTIVE
More on the scam. We have three or four
reports that potential tenants have been dealing with someone calling
himself ROBERT SPOONER, who is working with someone calling himself
JOSE ARANDA GUTIERREZ. They seem to be falsely offering
accommodation in Mutual Heights using GUMTREE. We have been in
touch with the real Robert Spooner, who confirms that he has nothing
whatever to do with this.
story involves a dead father, keys coming by courier (that never
arrive), and (of course) deposits and payments that are lost for
ever. They have images of passports that are almost certainly
falsified, for example:
IF you have any more information about scams that needs to be
shared with the community, please let us know without
delay. In the meantime please follow the advice below!
| 1 October 2011
|| There is a scam running
around where people are PRETENDING to own and rent out units in our
building (and elsewhere - this is not confined to Mutual
Heights). They are asking for substantial sums of money as
deposit before releasing the keys. Oddly, these people are
usually in distant places, and sometimes there is a bereavement
involved to explain why property is suddenly available. Do
not get suckered into this nonsense, and do not send ANY money to
people you do not know, without protecting your interests.
| 16 July 2011
|| The instructions for
setting your DSTV decoder are now available here. See above for an update
| 12 March 2011
|| A copy of an article
about the building, published in the "South African Architect" journal
in 1940, is now available here. It is
a scanned copy (7Mb) so it will take a little time to download.
It includes some artists' impressions of the building, and photographs,
but the quality is poor being based on a scanned photocopy. A
copy of the text only (2.3Mb) is available here.
| 21 February 2011
|| The Chairman's newsletter
for February 2011 is now available here. Remedial work is
finally starting on the few apartments that are seriously affected
by damp and summons have been served on the developer and their
contractors. We will continue to keep you informed.
| 15 January 2011
|| The very hot weather has accelerated our
thinking about energy management in the building. We are going to
seek expert advice about air conditioning, and other aspects of energy
consumption (including how to reduce the cost of keeping all those
light bulbs shining). If you have opinions, or expertise in these
matters, then please get in
touch with us.
| 14 January 2011
|| Tenders have been received for the
remedial works (see 1st November below), and following our evaluation
of those tenders work will begin (within the scope of our existing
budget) this month as soon as the construction industry gets back to
work. We will keep you informed.
| 28th December 2010
|| There is now a wikipedia page concerning
the Mutual Building - check it out and let us know if you have any
comments or suggestions as to how we might extend or improve it (or,
get in there and edit the page directly if you are a practiced
wikipedian!). You will find it at
| 1st November 2010
|| After interminable
efforts to establish what needs to be done and how it might be done (we
actually disassembled parts of windows and put them back together
again!), owners and affected residents will be pleased to know that
during November we will be issuing invitations to tender for the
remedial works discussed at the AGM, and that we are specifying that
work should start in the new year. If that sounds like the start
of something, not the end, then please be
assured it is the end of the beginning! It is likely that
the Tower and the Long Street elevation will be the first sections of
the exterior to be dealt with.
thanks go out to the task force that worked on this problem (comprising
volunteers from the Mutual Heights community), and to the building and
damp management experts who have assisted us. A newsletter with
full details is on its way.
| 24th May 2010
|| The date of the Annual
General Meeting is now 8th June - sorry for the late notice here
on the web site, but you should have received the official notice by
now. Hope to see you there, don't forget to fill in the proxy
form if you are not able to attend.
| 19th March 2010
||The Chairman's newsletter
for March 2010 is now available here. This reports
further on the legal situation in regard to the damp problems, and
remedial works. Note that the planned date for the next
AGM is 27th May 2010 - please diarise the date now.
|22nd February 2010
||The trustees are looking
forward to meeting residents and owners at the new year party, this
week. In answer to the desperate scribbled comments on the
notices (in the lifts and elsewhere), the venue is the Fresco
Room on the eighth level, and there is no charge.
that there will be extra security on duty that evening.
|18th January 2010
||The Chairman's newsletter
for January 2010 is now available here. This
reports on the legal situation in regard to the damp problems,
and proposals for remedial works on the exterior of the
|17th January 2010
||One of the most
distinctive features of the building is the extraordinary FRIEZE around
the three sides: Darling Street, Parliament Street, and
Longmarket Street. It is reportedly 386 feet (about 120 metres)
long. For a long time I have wanted to try and photograph it, and
on Christmas Day three weeks ago it was so quiet out in the streets
that a first attempt was successfully accomplished. Apart from
two sections that need to be re-photographed, and the fact that a few
leaves on the trees obscure the corner, most of the Frieze is
there. Have a look here (it's a 1.4Mb
download so it will not come immediately).
Here is how it starts:
When it loads you might
just see a long thin strip on your screen - click on it and it should
come to the proper size. Scroll to the right and the left to see
the whole thing.
The first two sections
(on the Darling Street side) depict Van Riebeeck landing (to the left
of the front door) and the 1820 settlers arriving (to the right).
Around the corner, the inscriptions below the pictures in Parliament
1622 - Post Office Stones
1666 - Die Kasteel
1834 - Emancipation of Slaves
1835 - Durban
1837 - Voortrekkers
1857 - Nongkause
1871 - Kimberly
See if you can locate
them on the visuals. I will be working on the missing parts when
the leaves fall from the trees so that we can see them.
|26 June 2009
||The Chairman's newsletter
for June 2009 is now available here. (Also the one for
April, which seems to have previously escaped this tabulated news on
the front page!). The June newsletter gives you a quick report on
the damp management project, more will be revealed at the Annual
General Meeting. See you there!
|25 June 2009
||The date of the Annual
General Meeting is now set for Thursday 30th July 2009 at 6pm. It will
take place in the Fresco Hall on the 8th Floor. The formal
notice, agenda and relevant documentation will be circulated to all
owners early next week.
Please put the date in your
diary….. Thursday 30th July 2009 at 6pm.
|3 March 2009
||The Chairman's newsletter
for February 2009 is now available here.
|28 January 2009
||Owners and residents
should be aware that we have undertaken a damp penetration
survey, and we have received 17 reports of damp ingress, some relating
to the structure and some to internal problems - some are significant
and some are not (see the 7 Nov 2008 notice below). We have now
met with specialists, and we will soon be choosing who will advise us
on how to solve the problems. It has also been suggested that we
form a task force to assist and manage the process on behalf
of the community - if you are interested in joining such a team, do
please contact us at email@example.com.
|26 January 2009
||Just in case you have not
noticed the many emails, and the posters in the lifts, please be
advised that the ANNUAL PARTY will be held at 19h00 on Thursday
29th January, in the Fresco Room on the eighth floor. See you there!
|7 November 2008
||The Chairman's newsletter
for November 2008 is now available here. It summarises the
proceedings of the AGM (Minutes will be circulated soon) and also
announces a survey of damp problems within the building. If you
want to report a damp penetration problem for the attention of the
trustees, please download and submit a report - a simple report form is
In case of any difficulty, you can always just email details to us at
the usual email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
|29 September 2008
||The 2008 Annual
General Meeting has been scheduled to take place at 6pm on Thursday
23rd October 2008 in the Fresco Hall, 8th Floor, Mutual Heights, 14
Darling Street, Cape Town. Because there are Special Resolutions which
will be put to members for consideration trustees are obliged to give
30 days notice of this meeting and to send copies by pre-paid
registered post. The "hard" copy AGM packs were posted on the 22nd
September 2008. But, if the building manager has your email address,
you should have received a "soft" copy by now. See you there!
|10 September 2008
||Your webmaster hears
reports that work is to begin soon on two things we have been waiting
for: the new garage door and the new security doors
in the entrance hall. The first will require everyone to have new
buttons to get in the garage (shame!) but will be infinitely more
secure and might even work reliably without breaking down
(hurray!); in the entrance hall the lifts will be secured using
new glass screens across the top of the stairs, with secured doors
within them (I guess you will have to use your white card to get to the
lifts). We are happy that both of these developments will improve
the security arrangements, and we may even be able to keep the main
front doors open later in the evening. Further news will emanate
from the manager's office in due course.
|24 August 2008
|| The Chairman's
newsletter for March 2008 is available here
(belatedly, again) - it concerns the budget for the new financial year,
and anticipates the AGM (we are aiming for October, date to be
|23 August 2008
Chairman's newsletter for February 2008 is available here (belatedly
- sorry about that - AB) - it provides information about the new
arrangements for payment of rates to the City administration.
This is now the direct responsibility of owners, where before it
was done for you by the Body Corporate.
Please note that the email address
given for Mr Mark Lewis in the circulated copy of the
newsletter is incorrect - the correct address is email@example.com, as given in the copy of the newsletter provided
||The new Chairman's
newsletter for November 2007 is now available here - it
provides additional background on the "Old Mutual Sign" saga, and
useful updates on other issues such as the re-cycling of rubbish - we
are to initiate an experiment and we seek the co-operation of all
residents! More about this is coming from the managing agents,
|21 Nov 2007
||You will have noticed
that the basement garage door is broken yet again. A security
guard has been posted to continuously monitor access while this problem
prevails - if you do not actually see the guard he will not be far
away. Note that we will be installing a NEW, much more secure access
system, with unique identities on the access buttons. That way,
if a button is lost or stolen, it can be disabled and rendered
|27 Sept 2007
||Your trustees have now
(finally!) concluded an agreement with Old Mutual for the continued
display of the huge "Old Mutual" sign on the east side of the building.
Your chairperson, Paul Rippon, and the building manager, Charles
Keefer, are to be complimented on their persistent dealings with Old
Mutual management, over an extended period of time.
Income from the rental (two years have been agreed, the second year is
now imminent) will be used to build a reserve fund, and to improve the
building. We are considering suggestions to beautify the Atrium -
any suggestions are
|26 Sept 2007
||Added instructions for visitor access
- you can use your cell phone to let visitors into the building.
|16 June 2007
||Here is some real but
interesting trivia. We are in touch with Randy Juster in the
USA (a serious Art Deco "fundi" who has allowed us to use one or two of
his photos of the building) and he gives us the following ...
"The largest flower delivery service in
the U.S. is called FTD (Florists Transworld Delivery). For the last two
Christmas seasons, FTD has run a TV ad where a flower delivery man
walks into a building with a fabulous Art Deco lobby. Believe it
or not, that building is the Old Mutual. How FTD ended up making a
commercial in Capetown, I have no idea."
Well, we know why they
came here, don't we!
You might like to note
that the recent AGM discussed policies for allowing filming in the
building (together with many other matters - more about that soon),
and there was a generally positive reaction about this. What do you
think about the use of the building for filming? Does it upset
you or delight you? Tell us with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org ...
your trustees want to hear from you.
|18th May 2007
||The ANNUAL GENERAL
MEETING is to be held in the Assembly Room (the Fresco Hall on the
eighth floor) at 18hr00 on 30th May. The documentation package
can be downloaded here. If you are not
able to attend you are URGED to submit your PROXY FORM to the managing agent, so
that a quorate meeting can be allowed to proceed with this important
business. We look forward to seeing you there, there will be
refreshments afterwards ...
|17th May 2007
||A complete copy of the Mutual Building Heritage Report
is now available here -
this interesting report provides information about the history of the
building, the heritage "content", and even provides floor plans for
every floor (including the basement). It is a large (scanned)
file - we are seeking out an "original" copy that would be smaller and
clearer, but in the meantime here is what we have.
|11th May 2007
||The first version of the
web site is now essentially complete, and available for general
|25th April 2007
||This web updated to
include all basic content (but there is much more to come - watch for
|24th April 2007
now have LESS THAN ONE WEEK to object to your rating valuation - go to www.capetown.gov.za to check it out. See the
newsletter on this matter.
|30th March 2007
Mutual Heights "Internet Survey" report is available here.
You will need the free
Acrobat reader to access the contents (and most of the other
documents on this web).
|29th March 2007
web site initiated