Gupta prop­erty auc­tion

Pretoria News Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - SAMEER NAIK NOR­MAN CLOETE

A GUPTA-OWNED prop­erty in Joburg from which ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule’s son Tshep­iso was evicted is set to go on auc­tion later this month.

This will be the first of sev­eral Sax­on­wold-based Gupta-owned prop­er­ties to be auc­tioned off.

Yes­ter­day Park Vil­lage auc­tions con­firmed that the prop­erty, lo­cated on 18 Avon­wold Road, which is just around the corner from the Gup­tas’ Sax­on­wold com­pound, will go un­der the ham­mer at 11am on Novem­ber 18.

The Avon­wold home made head­lines last month af­ter the suc­cess­ful evic­tion of Ma­gashule jr, who had been con­test­ing the is­sue for many months.

Ac­cord­ing to Park Vil­lage Auc­tions, the 1.119m² lux­ury home com­prises an en­trance foyer, a lounge, a TV room, a din­ing room, a kitchen, three bed­rooms and two bath­rooms (one of which is en suite).

A cov­ered pa­tio gives ac­cess to a front gar­den and swim­ming pool. The prop­erty fur­ther fea­tures a dou­ble garage, and a sin­gle bed­room and bath­room staff quar­ters.

Park View Auc­tions’ Clive Lazarus said the sale rep­re­sented a prime op­por­tu­nity for those seek­ing to ac­quire a lux­ury home in the highly sought-af­ter, af­flu­ent sub­urb of Sax­on­wold at a favourable rate.

“Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures on prop­erty24. com, res­i­den­tial houses in the area fetch any­thing up­wards of R3 mil­lion, with some go­ing up to R20m.”

Res­i­dents of Sax­on­wold mean­while say they aren’t “too both­ered” by the news that sev­eral Gupta-owned prop­er­ties in the area are set to be auc­tioned off.

A res­i­dent who lives a stone’s throw away from the Gupta com­pound said while she was un­aware that sev­eral Gupta-owned prop­er­ties were up for auc­tion, it didnt “af­fect my life”.

“They never once greeted me or my fam­ily. Even though we stayed so close to them we barely saw them so this doesn’t con­cern me at all,” said the res­i­dent, who did not want to be named.

“They have thrown so many Di­wali cel­e­bra­tions and par­ties and not once have they ever in­vited my fam­ily or any of the neigh­bours on this street.”

The woman said the Gup­tas, like most other res­i­dents in the plush sub­urb, kept to them­selves.

“Ev­ery­body in this neigh­bour­hood keeps to them­selves.

“I barely know my neigh­bours and I have lived here for many many years. And the same goes for the Gup­tas. I don’t know them at all aside from what I read.

“The only thing I am pleased about is that the roads are no longer busy now that the Gup­tas are gone. There would al­ways be road clo­sures, be­cause Zuma vis­ited them ev­ery so of­ten.

“They al­ways had im­por­tant guests and that caused chaos on our street so I’m glad that is over. I had a few prob­lems with Metro Po­lice, be­cause they would close off the roads and there would be no way to get out of my home. So I’m glad that’s no longer a prob­lem.”

An­other res­i­dent on Sax­on­wold Drive said she wasn’t both­ered by any­thing re­lated to the Gup­tas.

“I never met them. I never spoke to them so why should I care about their prop­er­ties go­ing up for auc­tion? Also I am so tired of jour­nal­ists ring­ing the bell here and ask­ing me ques­tions I know noth­ing about. I never met the Gup­tas, so I have noth­ing to say about them.”

An­other res­i­dent, who lives in close prox­im­ity to the Gupta com­pound, said he too was fed up with the me­dia at­ten­tion that the Gup­tas had brought to the sub­urb. “Sh*t hap­pens and life goes on. They have moved on and I re­ally think the me­dia should too.”

HAV­ING just one drink and get­ting be­hind the wheel of a car, may be just one too many.

With the fes­tive sea­son ap­proach­ing, the De­part­ment of Trans­port is con­sid­er­ing re­duc­ing the blood al­co­hol level to 0%. If passed, the law will be­come part of the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ad­ju­di­ca­tion of Road Traf­fic Of­fences (Aarto) sys­tem which will pe­nalise driv­ers for a host of traf­fic in­fringe­ments.

De­part­ment spokesper­son Ayanda Al­lie-paine said the pro­posal to drop the blood al­co­hol level to 0% was part of a re­view process, which in­cluded re­duc­ing the speed limit, was among the in­ter­ven­tions which had been di­rected to the Road Traf­fic Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion to study. “Our plans for the fes­tive sea­son in­clude tar­geted en­force­ment and smart polic­ing. We in­tend to de­ploy all our avail­able re­sources 24/7 for 365 days a year. This will also be a drill and pre­cur­sor to the in­tro­duc­tion of the Aarto Act,” she said.

But a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus (pri­vate law) Hen­nie Klop­per, of the Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria, pre­dicted an in­crease of around 100 deaths over the com­ing fes­tive pe­riod and road safety ex­perts agreed there was very lit­tle ev­i­dence to sug­gest that the an­nual road death toll fig­ure would de­crease.

They claim “driver at­ti­tude” and not “speed” is the real killer. Per­haps even more shock­ing, ac­cord­ing to Klop­per, is the R164 bil­lion price tag that road ac­ci­dents cost the South African econ­omy each year.

“If you look at the cost of ac­ci­dents and you look at the an­nual spend on road safety which is about R15 mil­lion, it’s no sur­prise that we still have these high road death toll fig­ures,” said Klop­per.

Road

Safety Ac­tion Cam­paign founder Richard Ben­son said he had been call­ing for speed lim­its on the coun­try’s roads to be re­duced to 30km/h and 100 km/h, for years.

“South Africa records around 17 000 deaths on our roads an­nu­ally. The Road Ac­ci­dent Fund pays out around 229 000 claims per year and this does not in­clude fac­tors like the loss of bread­win­ners and the dev­as­ta­tion to fam­i­lies,” he said. Ben­son claimed that South Africa had been of­fered help by coun­tries like Aus­tralia and Swe­den to re­duce the an­nual car­nage but noth­ing came of it.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Aus­tralia only records around 1 500 deaths per year, which was about the fig­ure recorded in South Africa ev­ery month.

“In South Africa, driv­ers are al­lowed to drive as fast as they want be­cause the govern­ment wants their votes. Each year we have mas­sive road safety cam­paigns but noth­ing changes. You’re not go­ing to ar­rive that much later if you drive slower. We also need more traf­fic of­fi­cers to en­force the rules of the road.” He added that at present the coun­try had 22 000 traf­fic of­fi­cers, but 120 000 were needed “if we are to see a dra­matic drop in the an­nual na­tional road death toll sta­tis­tics”.

Al­lie-paine said there was con­sid­er­a­tion to re­duce the speed by 20km (if it was 100 to 80, if 60 to 40 and free­ways from 120 to 100).

“Road ac­ci­dents are not only the re­sult of speed but sev­eral other fac­tors as well.

“Our Road Safety Strat­egy has con­sid­ered all these fac­tors. Leg­is­la­tion is be­ing re­viewed to ad­dress and bring in place an ed­i­fice of var­i­ous in­ter­ven­tions to re­spond ad­e­quately to the chal­lenge that South Africa is fac­ing.

“Among these, a re­view of the in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice on speed re­duc­tions as is the case in coun­tries such as Swe­den and Aus­tralia.

“Due to the unique sit­u­a­tion in South Africa, these can­not just be im­ple­mented with­out an im­pact as­sess­ment study,” she said.

Per­sonal in­jury lawyer Henry Shields shares Ben­son’s sen­ti­ments and added that if you crash at a speed of 120km/h, your chances of sur­vival were slim­mer than if you had been driv­ing at 60km/h.

“Driv­ing slower is safer and it also saves on fuel con­sump­tion. Ev­ery­thing in South Africa is po­lit­i­cal and the cur­rent speed lim­its, or rather the lack of en­force­ment, is a lit­eral death trap,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Klop­per, how­ever, it is not re­al­is­tic to com­pare South Africa to coun­tries where the death toll is lower be­cause pop­u­la­tion size plays a vi­tal role.

“Coun­tries like In­dia and the US have mas­sive pop­u­la­tions.

“The prob­lem in South Africa is that there is a to­tal dis­re­gard for traf­fic laws. It’s ha­bit­ual;peo­ple just don’t bother,” he said.

He added that the US, with a pop­u­la­tion of 133 mil­lion peo­ple, records around 38 000 road deaths an­nu­ally and In­dia with a pop­u­la­tion of more than a bil­lion, records around 150 000.

THE De­part­ment of Trans­port is con­sid­er­ing drop­ping the blood al­co­hol level and the speed limit in an at­tempt to re­duce the num­ber of road fa­tal­i­ties. | African News Agency (ANA)

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