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Thursday Aug 15, 2013

Landmark Pretoria property auctioned 'for a song'

Nedbank has bought the Sanlam Middestad building owned by businessman Roux Shabangu.

A collage showing Martin Phillip, head of Nedbank Corporate Properties, with his winning bid, the Sanlam MIddestad building, and Roux Shabangu.

The building in the centre of Pretoria was at one stage the headquarters of the SAPS.

Nedbank bought the building for R66 million at an auction held at the sheriff 's offices in Centurion yesterday.

The bank's bid was made in response to an opening offer of R65m for the building, which attracted a lot of interest from the public and the many people who turned up to watch the auction.

The bank held the R320m mortgage on the building, which Shabangu bought in 2011.

The bond had been granted to Roux Shabangu Properties on the basis that a valid, longterm lease agreement was signed with the Department of Public Works. The bank turned to the high court when Shabangu breached payment agreements, and was granted permission to place it under the hammer to recover costs.

Shabangu recently estimated the 18-storey building to be worth R850m.

After he bought it, the building became embroiled in controversy when Shabangu was accused of entering into questionable lease agreements.

At the centre of the controversy was a R500m lease agreement between Shabangu and the Department of Public Works, acting on behalf of the SAPS.

The public protector labelled the lease agreement irregular and corrupt when she investigated it last year.

The then-national commissioner of police, Bheki Cele, was fired by President Jacob Zuma for his role in securing a lease on this building and another that Shabangu owned in Durban.

Cele was fired following recommendations by the public protector, and after being declared unfit to hold office by a commission of inquiry.

Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, who was then the minister of Public Works, and other senior government officials also lost their jobs for the parts they played in the leases on the building.

Shabangu, a property mogul whose dealings extend beyond South Africa, recently came under threat when the Boogertman Smith Building Ltd in Pretoria applied for permission to have his businesses liquidated.

Nedbank stepped in to stop the liquidation, saying that the Roux Property Fund was in debt to Nedbank to the tune of R307 489 559.

Nedbank argued that it was the liquidators and auctioneers who would benefit from the winding-up of Shabangu's business.

The Pretoria High Court granted the bank the right this week to intervene in the liquidation process.

The Mercury


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