Gup­tas ‘backed’ Oros’ R140k monthly bond

Ev­i­dence sug­gests that ANC Youth League pres­i­dent Collen Maine re­ceived a gen­er­ous help­ing hand from the Gupta fam­ily to af­ford his swanky golf es­tate home

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ANC Youth League boss Collen Maine’s bond on his swanky golf es­tate home re­quires him to pay a whop­ping R140 000 a month. And while he re­fuses to say how he af­fords it, the ev­i­dence sug­gests the Gup­tas have lent a help­ing hand.

Maine and his wife, Kele­bogile, bought the R5.4 mil­lion prop­erty east of Pre­to­ria last Oc­to­ber, six weeks af­ter he was elected league pres­i­dent.

Maine has pub­licly de­fended the in­flu­en­tial fam­ily a num­ber of times – earn­ing him the ep­i­thet “that Gup­ta­con­trolled Oros [man]” from Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters deputy leader Floyd Shivambu on Twit­ter.

But he in­sisted this week he was in­de­pen­dent of the Gup­tas. “I was deal­ing with those is­sues as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple, not that I have any­thing to do with them.”

Maine’s dou­ble-storey, triple-garage home is set on a large, man­i­cured erf in the Wood­hill Res­i­den­tial Es­tate and Coun­try Club. It backs on to the greens of an 18-hole cham­pi­onship golf course.

The home­own­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion board has in­cluded lu­mi­nar­ies such as Gau­train boss Jack van der Merwe and De­loitte chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Chris Beuk­man.

A per­son with di­rect knowl­edge of the sale, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, told amaBhungane this week that Maine had orig­i­nally sub­mit­ted a cash of­fer, mean­ing the pur­chase was not de­pen­dent on him rais­ing a bond.

A cash buyer usu­ally has a lim­ited pe­riod to come up with the money or a bank guar­an­tee, well be­fore the trans­fer is reg­is­tered. In this in­stance, the source said, Pre­to­ria lawyer Ab­dul Jaf­fer re­mit­ted the full R5.4 mil­lion, say­ing it came from the Bank of In­dia.

Jaf­fer has of­ten acted for the Gupta fam­ily. Com­pany reg­is­tra­tion records show he was the orig­i­nal di­rec­tor of a num­ber of their com­pa­nies, in­di­cat­ing that he helped to reg­is­ter them.

A se­cond source, who says he was briefed on as­pects of the trans­ac­tion when it took place, told amaBhungane that the Gupta fam­ily ar­ranged with the Bank of In­dia to grant Maine a bond be­cause he was a “man of straw” fi­nan­cially and did not qual­ify. The Gup­tas asked Jaf­fer to help, he said, and the bond reg­is­tra­tion was done by a con­veyancer known to Jaf­fer, Sham­sood­een Omar. Deeds of­fice records con­firm a Bank of In­dia bond cov­er­ing the full R5.4 mil­lion pur­chase price was reg­is­tered to Collen and Kele­bogile Maine in mid-De­cem­ber, with Omar as con­veyancer. Omar, who, ac­cord­ing to deeds records, has done pre­vi­ous bond reg­is­tra­tions for prop­er­ties re­lated to the Gup­tas, re­ferred queries to Jaf­fer. This week Jaf­fer did not deny his firm’s in­volve­ment in the sale, but would not dis­cuss de­tails, cit­ing client con­fi­den­tial­ity. The bond doc­u­ment, ob­tained by amaBhungane, raises ques­tions about how Maine can af­ford his new house, be­cause: Rather than the stan­dard 20 years, the re­pay­ment term is four years. This more than dou­bles the monthly in­stal­ments – an un­usual choice for any­one who may be stretched fi­nan­cially; The bond doc­u­ment says the ini­tial monthly in­stal­ment is R135 665. At the in­ter­est rate of prime plus 1.5% spec­i­fied by the doc­u­ment, this will now be about R142 000 a month; Us­ing the af­ford­abil­ity mea­sure that home loan re­pay­ments may not ex­ceed 30% of gross in­come, Collen and Kele­bogile Maine should have jointly earned at least R450 000 a month be­fore tax to have qual­i­fied for the loan – un­less a third party bound them­selves as se­cu­rity; and R450 000 is roughly dou­ble Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s monthly pay­check. In his for­mer job as North West lo­cal gov­ern­ment and hu­man set­tle­ments MEC, Maine grossed a max­i­mum of about R152 000 a month. His cur­rent ANC salary is likely to be con­sid­er­ably less.

I don’t know who is dis­cussing those things with you. I have gone to the bank. I have got an agree­ment with the bank on how I pay the house for 20 years, so I would not then dis­cuss my pri­vate is­sues in pub­lic any more. That’s my re­sponse

Kele­bogile Maine’s cur­rent oc­cu­pa­tion could not be es­tab­lished be­fore go­ing to press. She pre­vi­ously worked for the Na­tional Youth De­vel­op­ment Agency, where a for­mer col­league said she left “late last year”. She did not take calls or re­ply to text re­quests for com­ment.

This week, Collen Maine seemed to deny the fouryear term of the bond, but would say no more.

“I don’t know who is dis­cussing those things with you. I have gone to the bank. I have got an agree­ment with the bank on how I pay the house for 20 years, so I would not then dis­cuss my pri­vate is­sues in pub­lic any more. That’s my re­sponse,” he said.

In Fe­bru­ary, Maine was quoted at a rally as say­ing that “an at­tack on the Gup­tas is an at­tack on the ANC”.

Af­ter Deputy Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas’ bomb­shell rev­e­la­tion in March that the Gup­tas of­fered him the fi­nance min­is­ter’s job, Maine joined the coun­ter­charge, call­ing on Jonas to re­sign for ig­nor­ing ANC pro­to­col.

And last month, Maine vis­ited Gupta com­pa­nies af­ter be­ing in­vited to dis­cuss the ma­jor banks’ clo­sure of their com­pany ac­counts. He was re­port­edly chased away by dis­af­fected staff.

Vi­nayaku­mar Singh, a di­rec­tor of Bank of In­dia’s South African branch, would not dis­cuss de­tails this week, cit­ing client con­fi­den­tial­ity.

But he said that, in South Africa, they op­er­ated mainly as a mer­chant bank and had granted only “two or three” home loans. He did not deny that the bank had a re­la­tion­ship with the Gup­tas, say­ing it was “not the only” bank in South Africa in that po­si­tion.

The Gupta fam­ily did not re­ply to de­tailed ques­tions emailed to fam­ily and com­pany spokes­peo­ple.

LAP OF LUX­URY Collen Maine's house at the Wood­hill Es­tate in Pre­to­ria

PHOTO: LUCKU NX­U­MALO

HOME SWEET HOME LOAN ANC Youth League pres­i­dent Collen Maine

IN BLACK AND WHITE Collen Maine’s mort­gage doc­u­ment

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