Conflicting accounts from DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Durban businessman Wessel Jacobs about the ownership of a nearly R4 million Cape Town home have resulted in an investigation into its ownership.
City Press reports that Maimane listed the Claremont home as his own in a parliamentary register as well as a house in Weltevredenpark in Roodepoort, Gauteng, despite the fact that the Claremont home is not and has never been in his name.
“After being confronted about the contradiction by City Press’ sister publication, Rapport, the leader of the official opposition did an about-turn and said he actually rents the home from a friend,” reported the publication.
This house is owned by a shelf company which lists Jacobs as its only director and shareholder according to deeds office records seen by the publication. The only home listed in Maimane’s name is the Roodeport property.
The house in question, which is located about 13km from Parliament, is also the house that his wife and children live in as opposed to taking up residence in one of the housing complexes that are allocated to MPs.
When pressed for answers about the records, Jacobs confirmed to the publication that he was indeed the sole director and shareholder of the company which bought the house for R3.85 million in September 2017. He also stated that Maimane paid rent for the property but refused to produce the lease agreement citing confidentiality reasons.
According to DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, MPs are only required to disclose leased homes on their declarations of members’ interests if the rent they are paying is not market-related.
DA sources told City Press that this could explain why Maimane listed Jacobs, who he also counts as a long-time friend, on his declaration under the heading, Benefits. Jacobs is also the owner of Jacobs Capital, a private investment company in Durban, and is a trustee of Maimane’s family trust, Kgalaletso Kgosi Trust.
While Maimane would not be drawn on what this benefit constituted, he reportedly recently told the publication that the house in Claremont did not belong to him but was leased at a “market-related” rate.
An estate agent contacted for confirmation estimated rental rates in this part of Cape Town at between R15 000 and R20 000 a month.
DA federal legal commission chairperson Glynnis Breytenbach is understood to have investigated this matter in 2018 after which she shared the findings of this investigation with Maimane. She reportedly found no indication that a crime had been committed.
(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)