House story storm in tea cup, says DA

16 September 2019 - 07:41
By Kgothatso Madisa
DA leader Mmusi Maimane declared a R4m property in  Claremont that he does not own./ Waldo Swiegers /  Getty Images
DA leader Mmusi Maimane declared a R4m property in Claremont that he does not own./ Waldo Swiegers / Getty Images

EFF leader Julius Malema says he believes his DA counterpart Mmusi Maimane made a "genuine mistake" when he declared his rental property in the members' interests registry.

Malema was speaking after a City Press report on Maimane's mysterious declaration of a house he did not own.

Malema jumped to Maimane's defence saying he did not believe there was anything sinister and that he also "gets confused by the rules at times".

"I've been in parliament for long and I still get confused by these things [parliament rules] myself and have to get someone to assist me," said Malema.

City Press yesterday reported that Maimane strangely declared a R4m Cape Town property in parliament's registry of members interests despite the property being registered in Durban businessman Wessel Jacobs' shelf company.

Yesterday Maimane sent a letter to his party structures calling the article "regrettable".

He said there was nothing unlawful or illegal about the house, including its purchase by a shelf company owned by a Durban businessman and that he was willing to discuss it in the party structures.

He said that he started renting the Claremont house in 2017 after he and his family's lives were threatened. The DA also rallied behind him.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said Maimane erred in declaring the property as it was a rental.

"I can say very clearly here what Mr Maimane is guilty of is an over declaration. Rented properties are not required to be declared in the declaration of interests," Steenhuisen told eNCA yesterday.

"In any event, the apparent, alleged owner of the property is listed under Mr Maimane's benefits. I think what you've got here is a case of over declaration rather than under declaration."

City Press reported that the Claremont, Western Cape, property was one of two houses, including one in Roodepoort, Joburg, Maimane declared to parliament.

In 2016, Maimane declared two Roodepoort houses, a 1,400 square metre and a 381 square metre properties.

Jacobs confirmed to City Press that he owned the property, which he bought through the shelf company but would not provide a lease agreement.