Bank drags Zwelethu Sisulu to court

Zwelethu Sisulu's company, SA Machado Construction, has allegedly failed to honour bank repayments obligations. / Supplied
Zwelethu Sisulu's company, SA Machado Construction, has allegedly failed to honour bank repayments obligations. / Supplied

The Sisulu name has once again been dragged through the mud by one of the respectable family's grandchildren, businessman Zwelethu Sisulu.

Zwelethu, the grandson of struggle icons Walter and Albertina Sisulu, was this week hauled to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg after his company, SA Machado Construction, defaulted on bank repayments following the purchase of cars and equipment, and for failure to keep up with overdraft payments.

Sunday World reported last year that an application order was filed at the high court, demanding that Sisulu junior, who is the son of late businessman and Struggle journalist Zwelakhe Sisulu, cough up his house and cars worth R7-million.

This week, in court papers seen by Sunday World, Standard Bank filed another application asking the court to institute legal action against Sisulu and his construction business partners.

The company is cited as the first defendant and Sisulu as the eighth of 11 defendants, for failure to meet their financial obligations.

In the first claim, the bank said the company purchased bakkies and skid-steer loaders for more than R1-million.

In court papers, the bank said Sisulu, who turned 38 yesterday, and his business partners "failed to pay one or more of the instalments payable in terms of the... instalment sale agreements and was in arrears with such payments to the aggregate amount of R900874".

Regarding the overdraft facility, the bank said in its second claim that on September 2 2016 it "granted the defendant on the first defendant's (SA Machado Construction) business current accounts held with the plaintiff an initial overdraft limit of R4.5-million".

The overdraft is now R4.7-million.

In his response, Sisulu said he resigned from SA Machado Construction and its subsidiaries in 2015.

"I have not been a director of the [company] since I tendered my resignation in 2015. Besides, I was a small minority shareholder with no significant stake... having less than 3% of shares," said Sisulu.

He said he had not been active in the company for years now and even when he was a director, he was the "least active".

"I'm being targeted by the media because I'm a Sisulu and you want to sensationalise the whole thing. The reason you are calling me is because you want a nice story," he retorted.

"It is public knowledge that I was a founding member of the company in 2008, but because I had to attend to my other business dealings and interests, I decided it was not fair for me to be one of the directors, so I resigned."

Sisulu said as he was doing a lot of travelling and could not be part of the core decision makers in the company, in relation to operation matters such as the ordering of building materials. He said he appears as a co-defendant in court papers because his name was not removed from the company documents after he resigned.

"It's unfortunate. I will go and check my correspondence with them regarding my resignation and submit it to the claimants."