Protector asked to probe CT-Naspers deal

2012-03-14 15:34

Cape Town - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is to investigate a proposed property deal between Cape Town City and media holding company Naspers [JSE:NPN].

ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said on Wednesday he had asked her to "investigate the suspicious City of Cape Town-Naspers multimillion rands property deal".

The Democratic Alliance-run City of Cape Town was intending to buy "a piece of parking space" from Naspers, which independent property analysts had valued at no more than R50m for a "whopping" R106m, according to Motshekga.

The value looked heavily inflated and raised questions regarding "who is set to benefit out of the deal", the chief whip said in a statement.

"We are pleased that the public protector has already made an assessment of our complaint and has concluded that it is within her jurisdiction," he said.

She had also confirmed that she would conduct a preliminary investigation into the allegations, and an investigator had already been assigned to work on the complaint, Motshekga said.

In a letter to Madonsela, Motshekga said that according to press reports, the city was set to buy the parking space from Naspers for the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, in which the city was a shareholder.

"The deal between the City of Cape Town and Naspers, as it stands, looks extremely suspicious and dubious," he wrote.

Property analysts believed the R3 000 per m2 was way above what an average vacant piece of land would fetch in the city.

The deal amount had even surprised Mansoor Mahommed, former City of Cape Town executive director who now worked at a property development company, who regarded it as a "high" price.

"This transaction, dubbed 'an extremely sweet deal for Naspers' due to the extraordinarily and unjustifiably high price involved, raises serious questions regarding the nature of the relationship between the DA and Naspers," he said.

"We are concerned that a company that, through its media publications prides itself on being the public watchdog and acting in the interest of the public, is expecting the public to fork out R56m more on a piece of parking space."

Motshekga called for the deal to be suspended until the investigation was concluded.

* Fin24 is a Naspers publication.

  • Ben - 2012-03-14 16:14

    Good, but finalise the arms deal investigation plus all other corrupt government transactons first.

      Andrew - 2012-03-14 16:42

      good point Ben, but it looks like the NC and DA are cut from the same cloth. Just that the DA is a smaller cloth...I don't trust politicians!!

      Jeffrey - 2012-03-14 18:10

      Read the DA reply in a letter to the Cape Times today. A site almost next to this was sold to the ANC for R105m in 2008 at about the same value per sq. metre. Although it is a "parking lot" in its present condition it is zoned as a business site. Mansoor Mohammed was responsible for property management in Cape Town when the amount of R106m was determined. Now he is "taken aback" at the valuation.

      Andrew - 2012-03-14 19:16

      @Jeffrey...Both ANC and DA up to the same trick...I would like to know what amount Naspers has donated to the DA in recent times.

  • Moraka - 2012-03-14 16:16

    Mr Motshega I hope your concern is genuine and has nothing to do with politics, while still on it may you also please ask the public protector to investigate the office of the Mpumalanga Premier, Mr Mabuza, it was rumoured that a huge amount of money in cash was found on his farm.

      Melusi Myaluza - 2012-03-14 16:39

      but moraka u can ask the public protector to investigate, u dont need motshekga to do that on your behalf, aren't u a citizen as well?

      Jeffrey - 2012-03-14 18:12

      @Ben, Apparently this site includes business rights for 37000 sq.m bulk plus 900 parking bays.

  • Ben - 2012-03-14 16:17

    Before I judge, let's first see if this figure of R100million plus includes bulk-rights, which may be what pushed the price upwards. I believe the price they're investigating is for land only. The WC-ANC haven't been good of late of hitting any nails on the head, so will reserve judgment till Madonsela has a look.

  • Dave - 2012-03-14 16:18

    The ANC should take a look at all the transactions that they have done over the years and stop trying to find fault and waste money on investigating other party's who have proven to be honest in their dealings

  • Deon - 2012-03-14 16:19

    They made much less profit than Tokyo S at Big Bay etc.

  • Sipho Sitole - 2012-03-14 16:24

    Just wondering how many of deals like this in CT have gone unnoticed.

      Piet - 2012-03-14 16:28

      Wonder if the ANC can count the ones they did?

      david.lebethe - 2012-03-14 17:04

      It actually calls for probing of all the deals that the DA had entered with the private sector.

      Nigel - 2012-03-14 17:05

      funny how you ANC sheep only notice allegations of wrongdoing when its not your beloved ANC, hypocrites!!!! - 2012-03-15 10:08

      What's your point Sipho? This transaction might very well be 100% fine. The Public Protector is doing a preliminary investigation after being asked to do so by a politician. Thats her job and thats great. But why assume something is up? The next door property sold for the same price on the Open Market

      celeste.rsa - 2012-03-15 13:55

      Nowhere near as many as in the other 8 provinces, that's for sure.

  • Werner - 2012-03-14 16:26

    It is small fry compared to ANC corruption figures! Say something about the police deals, gauteng toll roads........

  • Terry-Lee Heuer - 2012-03-14 16:32

    Wow Thuli you really have your hands full with all these investigations of corruption pity you don't have the end say to get rid of all the bad apples wonder what you are thinking about all this wish I knew!!

  • DarrenCooper68 - 2012-03-14 16:48

    Does it matter the size of the corruption. If wrongdoing is found anywhere by anyone, it must be made public and prosecuted. Two wrongs don't make a right, but 3 lefts do

      Mike - 2012-03-14 16:53

      Two wrongs don't make a right, but 3 lefts do :-) Good one!

  • david.lebethe - 2012-03-14 17:01

    I have also written to her to investigate the high volume of racism that is going through this pages and at Naspers's bequest. I hope she will finally accede to my request.

  • Nigel - 2012-03-14 17:02

    Good we in the Cape have nothing to hide, if it was corrupt or negligent, we expect the law to take its course. Now Mr Motshekga perhaps you could pass some of your enthusiasm for justice & honesty on to your ANC comrades up north, or are you only objecting to gain political points, oh don't bother, I know the answer to that question.

  • mike.clery - 2012-03-14 17:15

    That's what the PP's there for. But the ANC should at least get some basic facts right before complaining (and maybe deliberately distracting the PP?) - it isn't a "piece of parking space", it's a business site with rights to 37 000 sq m of bulk plus 900 parking bays (per Ian Nielson). And the adjoining site was bought while the ANC was in control of the province in 2008 for MORE per sq m than the price now being paid.

      Sylvia - 2012-03-14 17:27

      Thanks for clarifying that, Mike. Little details that Motshekga has not thought to mention in his haste to point fingers at the DA.

  • lydonmcg - 2012-03-14 17:29

    The ANC clearly have no idea what 'bulk rights' are. It's not the square metrage of the site that's's the amount of bulk the city can and will build on it that's resulted in such a high price! Idiots.

      celeste.rsa - 2012-03-15 13:20

      The only bulk they understand is the bulk in their bank accounts after they've raked in after all the successful "tenders"!

  • ingrid.tucker - 2012-03-14 18:40

    Industrial land outside Table View is sold for R2000-00 per m2, which property experts feel R3000-00 in the City Centre is excessive?

  • 1engel - 2012-03-14 18:51

    Interestingly enough there is another piece of land (erf 247) situated next to this piece of land owned by a "LAKESIDE CITY TRADING 55 PTY LTD", wonder what will be paid for that piece?

      1engel - 2012-03-14 18:58

      My bad - Property already purchased by City

  • braamc - 2012-03-15 06:06

    Naspers to benefit from the deal, got a brilliant price for the piece of land. Willing buyer and willing seller. That is it. Is prime land.

  • alistair.heys - 2012-03-15 07:56

    The R50 million evaluation was based on the AVERAGE selling price per square metre in Cape Town. Of course the piece of land being bought is going to be more than that. If they want to expand the CTICC they need that land and Naspers know it. It is complete nonsense that the land is being over valued.

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