South African getaway up for sale
Mimpiwe Piliso and Tim Butcher
A MANSION worth over R2 million in South Africa belonging to President
Mugabe’s motor-mouth chief spin doctor Jonathan Moyo, will be
auctioned off at the end of this month.
This follows a Johannesburg High Court order. The house is situated
in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
is in arrears with his bond repayments to Nedbank. The bank is mum over
the exact amount. The house has six bedrooms, and is valued at a couple
of million. Moyo also owes money to a South African television production
Decrepit and overgrown, the home of Mugabe's vitriolic minister appeared
a perfect metaphor for the state of Zimbabwe yesterday.
"For Sale" signs were stacked in the double garage as the
housekeeper offered to show prospective buyers around what was once
a smart seven-bedroom house in the up-market northern suburb of Saxonwold.
palatial home, is situated in one of Johannesburg's most expensive suburbs.
The estate agents said the six-bedroomed Saxonwold mansion had stood
empty for months before it was leased late last in 2002.
A monthly rental for a mansion in the suburb is estimated to be R20
000 to R30 000.
Moyo, Zimbabwe's Information Minister, snapped up the 1 976m² property
on Englewold Drive for a bargain R875 000 while working as a visiting
professor at Wits University in 1998.
The house was registered under Talunoza Trust, which has Moyo as the
main trustee. He got into arrears about three years ago but was then
able to find the necessary funds. Last year the debts began to mount
and his mortgage lender, a South African bank, Nedbank, foreclosed to
get back the 1.1 million rand (around £100,000) it says is outstanding.
He tried to sell it, but was unable to get his asking price. Last year
estate agents valued the Moyo mansion at R1.1-million, but the price
has now doubled.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has previously described
Moyo as a "hypocrite" for owning the expensive house.
Zimbabwe's economy collapsed, Moyo retained a safe investment in Saxonwold,
home to some of South Africa's best-known personalties.
The residence features six bedrooms, a large modern granite kitchen,
a swimming pool, double garage, an office, Oregon pine floors and underfloor
heating. Most of the home is hidden behind a high wall topped with an
Last year, Moyo’s wife Betsy, spoke fondly of the home - though
her husband earlier denied to the South African Sunday Times that he
owned the property.
While on holiday in Johannesburg, she had insisted it won’t be
sold: "It is a wonderful place and my six-year-old misses the house.
"But we have no present plans to sell . . . we will be keeping
Ncube, the general secretary of the MDC said of Moyo’s plush home:
"All we can say is that Moyo has demonstrated that he is one of
the biggest hypocrites . . . owning a luxurious home in South Africa
that he can run to when everything in Zimbabwe falls apart."
Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the MDC, said: "All those people
who claim to be patriotic are not patriotic at all . . . this shows
a very split and divided personality and demonstrates underlying insecurities."
Moyo has denied that he owned the Saxonwold property. "There is
no evidence whatsoever that I own a house there . . . the trust does
not link me as an owner.
"I used to live there two years ago . . . the house is owned by
a trust and I am not a trust."
He added: "The trust is a children's trust and they are not going
to talk . . . and even if I owned that house, I would not be interested
"I don't think it makes sense for people to be talking about their
properties," Moyo said.
The house, empty of furniture, has been at the centre of a
lengthy legal battle between the financially inept Mr Moyo and some
of the many people who claim he owes them money.
Witwatersrand University, where Mr Moyo once worked as a researcher,
claims he absconded with thousands in research money and a South African
television company says he owes £10,000.
writ has been issued in the Kenyan High Court against Mr Moyo by the
Ford Foundation, an American educational trust that claims he stole
£70,000 of its money in the late 1990s.
agent acting for Mr Moyo said the property had already been sold for
1.5 million rand. But the bank's lawyers have received no confirmation
and the auction is going ahead.
is known to have received a number of commercial farms seized under
Mr Mugabe's illegal land-grab policy.
Year trip widely reported in the South African press saw him spending
extravagantly on food and goods now unavailable in a Zimbabwe made bankrupt
by Mr Mugabe's mismanagement.
loyal to his master, Mr Moyo launched a fierce attack on the South African
media and South Africa in general, threatening a diplomatic incident
with Zimbabwe's large neighbour.
is widely seen as one of the most hated people in Zimbabwe. With a penchant
for flowery rhetoric, he routinely describes anyone, black or white,
who dares criticise Mr Mugabe as a colonialist spy in the pay of MI6.
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