The high life of an al­leged cable theft king

CityPress - - News - JEANNE VAN DER MERWE and ATHANDIWE SABA in­ves­ti­ga­tions@me­dia24.com and athandiwe.saba@city­press.co.za

OP­U­LENT Neil Davies’ posh pad in Joburg’s north­ern sub­urb of Oak­lands is on the mar­ket for R12.5 mil­lion The scrap metal dealer nabbed last week­end with al­legedly stolen cop­per cable in his BMW X5 owns an op­u­lent fourbed­room man­sion that’s been fea­tured on Top Billing.

Neil Davies’ posh pad in Joburg’s north­ern sub­urbs is on the mar­ket for R12.5 mil­lion and boasts cus­tom-de­signed fur­ni­ture, pat­terned wall­pa­per and an elab­o­rate land­scaped gar­den.

The Oak­lands prop­erty – which a deed search shows Davies regis­tered in his wife Lara’s name in 2011 for about R5.5 mil­lion – is be­ing mar­keted by Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties.

On its web­site, the prop­erty group urges buy­ers to “pre­pare to fall in love with this Top Billing and SA Gar­den and Home fea­tured home” that is set in a “lush, treed gar­den on 1 362 me­tres squared”.

Be­fore mov­ing into the Oak­lands home, Davies lived in an equally plush town­house in Ab­bots­ford, also in north­ern Joburg. Court records ob­tained by City Press show that Davies and his Ab­bots­ford neigh­bours, Eti­enne and Yu­val Rozent­vaig, were charged with fraud and an al­ter­na­tive charge of theft in the Jo­han­nes­burg Spe­cialised Com­mer­cial Crimes Court.

The three al­legedly sold sand to Davies’ pre­vi­ous em­ploy­ers, the New Recla­ma­tion Group (Reclam). They were al­legedly paid the same price they would have got for scrap cop­per. All three were out on bail last week when Davies was nabbed again.

Davies was ar­rested with four oth­ers on charges of theft

Ev­ery time I think about him, I get so fu­ri­ous. He did to us ex­actly what he did to Reclam. I want noth­ing to do with him. One day he’ll get what’s com­ing to him

while pil­ing cop­per into his BMW last week. Po­lice of­fi­cers be­lieve the cop­per was stolen from Eskom power sta­tions in Rood­e­poort.

Davies was granted bail on Fri­day. His co-ac­cused were each granted bail of R3 000 on Thurs­day. He also has a pend­ing crim­i­nal case at the Hill­brow Mag­is­trates’ Court re­lated to the theft of more than R100 000 in cash from a Reclam branch.

At­tempts to con­tact Davies and his lawyers this week were un­suc­cess­ful.

Deal­ing with scrap metal is in the 44-year-old’s blood. He learnt the trade from his fa­ther, Lawrance, who ran a scrap metal re­cy­cling business on the West Rand. Davies qual­i­fied as an ac­coun­tant in 1997, ac­cord­ing to af­fi­davits from a bruis­ing court bat­tle be­tween him and Reclam.

He told the court that “his love of the scrap met­als in­dus­try started as a child” and that even­tu­ally he wanted to take over his fa­ther’s business.

Davies joined Reclam after it bought his fa­ther’s business and, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davits, he traded in scrap lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, han­dling ev­ery­thing from price ne­go­ti­a­tion, lo­gis­tics and mon­i­tor­ing sup­plies to build­ing up close re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers, and sub­mit­ting ten­ders for buy­ing scrap from gov­ern­ment.

Reclam’s at­tor­ney, Michael Strauss, told City Press that Davies was dis­missed fol­low­ing “huge stock losses and theft” at the West Rand branches Davies man­aged.

The group took Davies and his new em­ploy­ers, West Rand Scrap, to court last year to try to en­force a re­straint of trade agree­ment it made him sign in 2008. This came after Davies started to com­pete di­rectly with his for­mer em­ploy­ers fol­low­ing his dis­missal.

Davies won the court bat­tle, but Reclam ap­pealed and judg­ment is pend­ing. In­dus­try in­sid­ers told City Press that Davies’ com­pe­ti­tion had dealt a sig­nif­i­cant blow to Reclam’s West Rand business.

But he has also wrecked his re­la­tion­ship with the cur­rent own­ers of West Rand Scrap. The own­ers, who asked not to be named, said that they wanted noth­ing to do with Davies.

“Ev­ery time I think about him, I get so fu­ri­ous. He did to us ex­actly what he did to Reclam. I want noth­ing to do with him. One day he’ll get what’s com­ing to him,” said one of the own­ers.

PHOTO: PAM GOLD­ING PROP­ER­TIES

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