In September last year, DA leader Mmusi Maimane declared in the parliamentary register that he owned two houses.
One, in Roodepoort, is registered in his and his wife’s name, so that’s all fine.
The other, however, a R3,85 million property in Claremont, is not. Over the past weekend, this has come under increased scrutiny, with a number of media outlets asking questions.
Via TimesLIVE, here was Maimane’s response:
…Maimane moved from the parliamentary village in Cape Town to a R3.85m house in Claremont because he and his family were getting death threats, the opposition leader said on Sunday.
“I had initially taken the decision to move from the parliamentary village in Acacia Park due to threats against my family and me, including intimidation and death threats,” he said in a statement, adding that articles on Sunday revealing his address had put them at further risk.
After the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper confronted him about declaring the house as an asset, Maimane made an about-turn, saying he was actually renting it from an old friend. Neither Maimane nor [the friend, Durban businessman Wessel] Jacobs would divulge how much rent he was paying.
The Afrikaans Sunday newspaper is the Rapport, and City Press also found a number of inconsistencies, including the following:
The actual owner of the house is the shelf company, K2016495571. Jacobs confirmed last week that he was the sole director and shareholder of the company.
The company bought the house for R3.85 million in September 2017. A bond of R2.55 million was registered over the property in 2018. Jacobs said that the remainder was paid out of his own pocket.
Jacobs maintains that the full purchase price was paid by him.
During his about-turn on the ownership of the property, Maimane added that he paid a “market-related” rental rate, which real estate agents in the area agree would be around R15 000 to R20 000 a month.
Jacobs says that Maimane is paying rent, but refrained from showing any kind of lease agreement to the media, saying that was confidential.
Back to Maimane and his response yesterday, where he outlined what he calls “the facts in this matter”:
There is no evidence of any wrongdoing on Maimane’s part, but it’s clear that the relationship between him and Jacobs goes way back:
The relationship between Jacobs and Maimane appears to extend beyond that of lessor and lessee. According to both, they have been friends for years.
Jacobs is the owner of Jacobs Capital, a private investment company in Durban, and is a trustee of Maimane’s family trust, Kgalaletso Kgosi Trust.
It is understood that there has been discomfort over Maimane’s declarations within the DA caucus for some time.
“He did not listen to us. What happens now must happen,” said a caucus member last week, in response to queries about the home.
Given that the DA is coming off the back of a very poor showing in the national elections, which may have led to some of the party’s backers withholding funds, the timing of these questions surrounding Maimane’s living arrangements is far from ideal.
Then again, it’s not like Maimane was stealing from the poor to buy Gucci and live the high life (that’s Julius’ territory), or sold our country to the highest bidder, a la the ANC.
South African politics really is about picking the lesser evils, isn’t it?
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