Gupta property auction
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.
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)