Former president Jacob Zuma has to cough up R7.3m to pay back his bond from VBS – or he could lose his Nkandla property.
Court papers filed by VBS Mutual Bank’s liquidator, Anoosh Rooplal, show that Zuma has defaulted on the multi-million loan extended to him by the bank in 2016.
Rooplal and VBS are asking the court to grant an order forcing Zuma to pay up, or give an order that will allow VBS to execute on the property – a section of land owned by the Ingonyama Trust named ‘Nxamalala Farm’, and on which Nkandla is built.
Zuma secured a much-publicised bond from VBS which he used to pay R7.8m to the South African Reserve Bank in September 2016, as part of what he owed for the cost of extensive upgrades to his Nkandla homestead after he became president in 2009.
The upgrades, which were initially sold as security upgrades, cost the South African taxpayers R250m and included a swimming pool, a cattle kraal and an amphitheatre.
In March 2016, the Constitutional Court confirmed that the report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela into the Nkandla saga was binding. She found Zuma was personally liable for some of the costs.
According to the court papers, Zuma fell behind on the repayments of the VBS loan for the first time in August 2018, when he was in arrears of R109 568.
VBS and Rooplal sent Zuma a letter of demand for the arrears around the same time.
Following the letter of demand Zuma “effected sporadic repayments all of which were less than the agreed monthly instalments”.
According to the loan agreement attached to the court papers, Zuma’s monthly instalments were R69 000 a month over 240 months (20 years) on a total loan amount of just shy of R8m.
All told, he would have paid VBS R16m.
As of August 2019, the arrears on the loan amounts to more than R550 000, which has prompted the bank to call up the entire outstanding loan amount of R7.3m.
According to court papers filed in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, Zuma now has until September 14 to file a notice to state whether or not he will defend the summons, and 20 days after that to file papers in response to the summons.
The papers also detail numerous attempts by VBS liquidator Rooplal and his attorneys to get Zuma to pay the arrears, to no avail.
VBS was placed under liquidation last year after which it soon emerged that the bank’s executives had stolen through various schemes, R1.8bn over several years.
In an explosive investigation report titled The Great Bank Heist, Advocate Terry Motau detailed how the bank was looted into the ground.
Since then, Rooplal and his attorneys – Werksmans – have systematically begun taking civil action against those implicated in the report.
Zuma is the latest in a long line of beneficiaries of looted VBS cash to come under fire.
After falling behind in 2018, Zuma never fully caught up on his loan, court papers show. According to the loan agreement, if he missed one payment and did not settle the amount within 20 days, VBS had the right to call up the full balance of the loan.
Court papers show VBS and Rooplal gave Zuma far more leeway than 20 days:
On May 6, 2019 – VBS/Rooplal wrote to Zuma’s lawyer, Dan Mantsha, demanding urgent payment of the full arrears
May 7, 2019 – Zuma’s lawyers confirmed to VBS that he would settle the full outstanding amount by no later than May 31, 2019
Zuma failed to effect the payment as agreed.
June 18, 2019 – VBS/Rooplal again give Zuma 20 days notice to pay the full arrears. Zuma fails to do so.
As at August 31, 2019, Zuma is in arrears on his VBS loan to the tune of R558 691, and he owes all told R7 345 849.
News24 previously reported VBS had also paid the money to Zuma and only obtained his signature on documents giving the bank security over the loan in June 2017.
At the time of writing, a spokesperson for Zuma had not responded to questions.