Man leaves timeshare to Julius

25 July 2017 - 06:54 By Wendy Knowler
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. File photo.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / City Press / Tebogo Letsie

"I can't get rid of this timeshare and I can't afford the levies any more, so I've left it to Julius Malema in my will."

Eben Combrinck told the National Consumer Commission's public inquiry in Durban yesterday that his two-week timeshare in a Bela-Bela nature reserve had become a financial burden.

Panel chairman Diane Terblanche said: "A woman, a Ms Lategang, told us at the Cape Town hearings that she'd bequeathed her points to a member of the company which had sold them to her - she was adamant her children were not going to inherit the burden."

The panel began hearing about the industry's horror stories from consumers in Pretoria earlier this month. It went to Cape Town next and to Durban for a two-day inquiry this week.

The goal is the creation of a single piece of legislation to regulate the industry.

Many consumers, such as Combrinck, now in his 70s, have told of changed financial circumstances leading them to attempt to sell their timeshare - either their weeks or their points - and then discovering the company refuses to buy them back.

"I had great benefit from my two-week timeshare for many years, but when I could no longer afford it because of my wife's medical costs, the company was very unsympathetic," Combrinck said.

When the annual levies climbed to R5,000 four years ago, meaning he owed R10,000 in total for his two weeks, Combrinck stopped paying. "And now we are getting all kinds of threats from debt collectors," he said.

This was despite a 2014 SA Revenue Service directive which stated that levies could not be charged to people who do not have a title deed and who do not own a property.

"We need a legal way to get out of these contracts," Combrinck said. "We shouldn't be locked in forever."