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By Citizen Reporter


Gautrain Sandton water woes expose new Gupta, Regiments Capital scandal

The City of Johannesburg sold one Sandton's most expensive pieces of land to Cedar Park Properties, who don't appear to have actually paid a cent.

A fresh scandal involving the Gupta-linked company Regiments Capital has been accidentally exposed by the City of Johannesburg after it cut off the Sandton Gautrain’s water supply due to nonpayment by the train service’s landlord, Cedar Park Properties.

Regiments is no stranger to controversy, as its directors were accused of making unlawful payments of more than R500 million from the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund to Gupta-linked entities Trillian and Albatime between December 2015 and April 2016.

In addition to this, Regiments is believed to have received lucrative contracts from state-owned enterprises due to its connection to the Guptas.

The City of Johannesburg – then controlled by the ANC and now in the hands of a DA-led government – is believed to have paid nothing for one of the most expensive pieces of land in Johannesburg, due to a deal that Cedar Park would only need to pay once turning a profit from the property. And as long as they keep leasing units rather than selling them, they may remain exempt from payment, City Press reports.

In addition to this, R250 million in taxpayers’ money was allegedly spent on building a structure on the site.

Cedar Park also believes its nonpayment of property tax is allowed due to the contract they signed with the city.

On Thursday, the City of Johannesburg announced it has kicked off a full forensic investigation into this 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 Johannesburg Property Company, on behalf of the City, and Cedar Park.

Johannesburg Property Company 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.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, News24 Wire)

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