City of Joburg launches probe into sale of Sandton Gautrain land

City of Joburg launches probe into sale of Sandton Gautrain land

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba is pictured leaving the Johannesburg Central Police station, 10 December 2018, after laying charges against Parks Tau and Geoff Makhubo. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

‘Why would the City ever finance the sale of its own land to a private company? This is not only absurd but highly suspect,’ Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said.

The City of Johannesburg has kicked off a full forensic investigation into an apparent dodgy sale of the land where the Sandton Gautrain Station is situated.

In a statement released on Thursday, executive mayor Herman Mashaba said damning information came to light during a billing issue with the property, currently before the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

The issue stems from a 2009 agreement between Joburg Property Group, on behalf of the City, and Cedar Park.

Joburg Property Group sold the land to Cedar Park for R280 million, “however, the transfer of this land was only registered in the Deeds Office in 2013,” the statement said.

The City issued a bond in favour of Cedar Park for the full R280 million.

“One must ask, why would the City ever finance the sale of its own land to a private company?

“This is not only absurd but highly suspect,” Mashaba said.

“To add to this, Cedar Park has not made one payment in terms of the bond repayments because of a suspensive clause included in the development lease agreement,” he added.

Mashaba said the conduct was suspicious.

“Absurdly, instead of assisting the City in ensuring that this debt is paid, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Bombela Concession Company is also taking the City to court on 1 October 2019 seeking the exact same relief. Such action is wasting public money in unnecessary, duplication litigation.

“I will not rest until the City gets to the bottom of this apparent criminality and ensure that those who have elected to abuse public office and steal from our residents face the full might of the law,” Mashaba said.

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