Police asked to probe if Tshwane bought land at inflated prices

07 October 2019 - 15:15
By Naledi Shange
Three suspicious land purchases by the city of Tshwane have been highlighted by AfriForum.
Image: Kasper Nymann via 123RF Three suspicious land purchases by the city of Tshwane have been highlighted by AfriForum.

AfriForum on Monday laid corruption charges against the city of Tshwane and three companies over alleged ballooning prices of three farms sold to the city.

A case was opened at the Pretoria police station.

Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa welcomed the request for a police investigation, saying the metro had already initiated an internal probe into the matter.

The three companies are reported to have acted as middle-men in the multimillion-rand purchases of the Strydfontein, Klipfontein and Roodepoort 504 farms.

AfriForum said these companies bought the farms from their original owners and sold them just hours later to the city for millions more than the original price.

Monique Taute, head of AfriForum’s anti-corruption unit, said Strydfontein, comprising 20 smallholdings, was bought by a company that paid a total of R117m to the landowners but sold it to the city for R211m on the same day.

Klipfontein was allegedly bought by a second company for R53m from its original owners. It was then onsold to the city on the same day for R85.5m.

The third company allegedly bought the Roodepoort 504 farm in Bronkhorstspruit for R40m from its original owner. Forty days later, it was sold to the city for R90m, said AfriForum.

A statement from Mokgalapa’s office said this was “a serious allegation that mayor Mokgalapa will not ignore”.

“The charges laid by AfriForum are a delayed reaction as the city has been proactive in this regard by instituting its own city-wide investigation pertaining land transactions. This was after a series of complaints initially emerged in May 2019,” said Mokgalapa.

“The city will take appropriate action following the outcome of the investigation. Under no circumstances should the city conduct its business irresponsibly or without considering the optimum value it extracts to benefit residents.”

Mokgalapa added that if any official was found to be guilty of breaking the law, they would face the consequences.