Chicco Twala steps in to save house

Chicco Twala
Chicco Twala

The riddle about the sale of an ANC mansion in Diepkloof, Soweto is closer to being solved by the governing party with the assistance of music guru Sello "Chicco" Twala.

Information gathered by the ANC so far shows that the house was hijacked allegedly by ANC members who purported to have been mandated by the party to dispose of the party's asset.

The ANC has now resolved to press criminal charges against two of their own members who are also business people. The two own, among others, an energy company.

According to preliminary outcomes of the investigation by the party, it is alleged that the pair fraudulently acquired the house and illegally sold it to Ally Lebohang Rabotapi.

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said: "Our investigations have noted that the property in question appears to have been hijacked by some people who had visited the property purporting to be coming from the ANC. They sold the house as if they were mandated by the ANC.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

"Unfortunately, we can't share their names with the media at this stage. However, we intend to involve law enforcement agencies to deal with the matter."

Mabe said the decision follows a meeting between the ANC and Twala, who is one of the trustee of Soweto Peoples Trust, an entity mandated to manage the property.

Other ANC staff members who were entrusted with the responsibility of managing the assets of the party were also in the meeting on Tuesday. Mabe also confirmed that the ANC was aware that party stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had accommodated her niece, Nolwazi Githuka, at the double-storey house. These developments come to light after a Sunday World report last month that Githuka was evicted from the house by security guards who were hired by Rabotapi, the new owner of the property.

Githuka had also blamed Twala for her woes. Twala said he drove straight to Diepkloof after his meeting with the ANC and advised Rabotapi to halt all renovations as the ANC was intending to claim it back. He said he had also advised Luthuli House to open a case of fraud against the two ANC business people who had sold the house to Rabotapi.

"What happened with the sale of the house was clear fraud. The house was sold fraudulently by the owners of the company behind the ANC's back," Twala said.

Pule Mabe
Pule Mabe

The music producer said after informing Rabotapi of the ANC's intentions to press criminal charges against those who sold him the house, Rabotapi told him he had followed the right process to acquire the house.

"But I have made it clear to him that even if the ANC does not open a case against those people, I'm going to do it myself. My name has been dragged through the mud and I can't just stand and watch," he said.

Rabotapi could not be reached for comment. His phone was on voicemail the entire week and he did not respond to SMS messages.

Sunday World visited the house yesterday but there was no one at the property.

Our investigations have revealed that the Soweto Peoples Trust was first registered in July 1991 and its founding trustees were Eric Samson, Jeffrey Liebesman and Michael Mervyn Katz. They were also listed as donors to the trust and they bought the house for R230 000 from Twala in 1992.

Twala had bought the property from Mashigo Properties for R125000, also in 1992.

According to a property deeds search, the house was later acquired by a company owned by two ANC members for R300000 in 2014.

The house in Diepkloof that was allegedly hijacked by members of ANC.
The house in Diepkloof that was allegedly hijacked by members of ANC.

The documents also show that before the house was sold to the company, it was transferred to an estate of a deceased person named Bheki Themba Godfrey Mbatha.

One of the directors of the company, an ANC member, confirmed that he had bought the property to redevelop it "but there were issues around it. We took a transfer and I made payment for the property, but we had to do a concession with an attorney."

When asked who sold him the house, the businessman said: "I did not meet the seller personally. We were given all the documents electronically and the house was bought in cash." He said his company attempted to sell the house to Rabotapi but the sale was reversed before transfer could be made to him.

"We told our attorneys to cancel the sale and Rabotapi was paid back his money. He has always been interested in buying the property from us. I'm shocked to hear that he claims to be the owner of the house now," he said.

The man said he had no knowledge of the matter but was "in the same circle" with the two trustees. Madikizela-Mandela's personal assistant, Zodwa Zwane, referred enquiries to the ANC saying she was too ill for interviews.

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