This story has been amended to include an apology

Apology to Savita Mbuli

Savita Mbuli's bond battle with bank heats up

Bank says Savita Mbuli is battling to keep up with payments.
Bank says Savita Mbuli is battling to keep up with payments.
Image: Mabuti Kali

Sunday World would like to apologise to Savita Mbuli for a story published on July 29, headlined “Mbuli’s bond battle with bank heats up”. 

Press ombudsman Johan Retief found against Sunday World, saying the newspaper was in breach of section 1.1 and 3.3 of the Press Code.

Sunday World apologises to Mbuli for untruthfully, inaccurately, misleadingly and unfairly making the following statements in the article:

• “… the bank making another effort to grab her Houghton mansion”;

• “FNB … told authorities that they would like to repossess her home and auction it off after she failed to keep up with her bond repayment”;

• “The financial institution says that Savita, who is the executor of her husband’s estate, has failed to pay them for nine months”;

• “FNB were demanding that Mbuli make a repayment of more than R410 000 to close her bond account or else they were going to cancel it and sell the palatial house”;

• “They also revealed that Savita had told them she would not be able to settle the debts as she was waiting for her husband’s estate to be wound up”; and

Press Council.
Press Council.

• “The bank says Savita Mbuli is battling to keep up with payments,” said Retief in his ruling.

The newspaper also apologises to Mbuli for untruthfully, inaccurately, misleadingly and unfairly stating in the headline that her “bond battle” with the bank was “heating up”, and that she was in danger of losing her property “over arrears” and for not exercising care and consideration with regards to her reputation and  dignity and her children’s dignity.

Visit www.presscouncil.org.za for the full finding.

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE

The five-year war between deceased SABC's Morning Live presenter Vuyo Mbuli's widow Savita and FNB continues unabated with the bank making another effort to grab her Houghton mansion.

FNB has gone to the South Gauteng High Court for the umpteenth time and told authorities that they would like to repossess her home and auction it off after she failed to keep up with her bond repayments.

The financial institution says that Savita, who is the executor of her husband's estate, has failed to pay them for nine months. Her husband Vuyo died in 2013.

FNB were demanding that Mbuli make a payment of more than R410 000 to close her bond account or else they were going to cancel it and sell the palatial house.

According to court papers deposed by the bank in support of their application, the Mbulis had secured three loans from the bank totaling R4-million against three of their properties, including their matrimonial home, but failed to keep up with instalments.

They also revealed that Savita had told them she would not be able to settle the debts as she was waiting for her husband's estate to be wound up.

But the bank said in its papers that four years has lapsed and the estate was not wound up as promised. They also revealed that Savita had also promised to sell her property in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, to settle the debt, but said she had not done so.

According to an affidavit filed by Amelia du Buisson on behalf of FNB Home Loans, Mbuli was first hauled before court in June last year when she was in arrears of more than R166000, but after the bank filed papers in court she made payment of R140000.

As a result, the bank instructed its attorneys to withdraw the application and invited Mbuli to enter into a new agreement to settle her arrears.

Vuyo Mbuli died 5 years ago.
Vuyo Mbuli died 5 years ago.

As part of the agreement, Savita had promised to settle the arrears including bond instalments owed in an amount of R100000 by the end of October, but failed to settle the debt.

The papers indicate that the only correspondence she made to the bank was on July 20 when she made a promise to pay R75000 into the bond account. But the bank said the money never came through and that on August 1 they forwarded an e-mail to inform an administrator about this failure.

The papers further show that Savita made a payment of R50000 later that day.

The banking group said in their papers that Savita's current monthly instalment had increased to R43653.31 due to nonpayment.

"As at September 4 2017, the respondents were in arrears to the applicant in the amount of R197784.57," read the papers.

FNB could not comment at the time of going to print.

Bank's bullying tactics fraught with errors - Savita

SAVITA'S RESPONSE

I confirm receiving the notice of motion which is ambiguous and does not contain FNB's legal basis to compel the finalisation of the estate.

The four points in the notice of motion make no reference to arrears that are due by me or the estate to FNB. Neither does the 17 points in the accompanying affidavits.

FNB's affidavit is misleading and deliberately omitted all information regarding payments made to them.

FNB is a preferred creditor of the estate, and is not prejudiced by nonpayment.

The orderly winding and supervision of deceased estates is the responsibility of the Master of the High Court of South Africa and not that of FNB.

The question that needs to be answered is on what legal basis do they want to compel the finalisation of the estate.

The notice of motion refers to historic information, and further more contains detailed information on the L&D account (a document showing all the assets and liabilities of the estate including administrative expenses necessary for the winding up of an estate), and conveniently omits the current status quo.

This is the same FNB which in 2013 claimed the estate owed them R10-million and in March 2016 admitted that it was incorrect, as reported in Sunday World.

They further in court papers filed by them stated that they could not find papers supporting and proof of a further loan granted. Sunday World also reported on this development.

To me this is yet another episode of the bullying tactics of FNB fraught with factual inaccuracies and contradictions.

As I've done before, I will go wrestle it out in court with FNB and as per previous motions brought by FNB. I see this being cancelled.

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