North West gets back buildings
Johannesburg - North West premier Thandi Modise welcomed a court ruling that gave back to the provincial government millions worth of buildings that were sold through questionable means.
"[This] should send an unequivocal message that the North West provincial administration will do everything in its power to recover state properties lost through controversial transactions," Modise said in a statement on Saturday.
Provincial spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele said thousands of people were evicted from ten blocks of flats across the province in 2006 when the company Mr Property Developers sold the buildings on auction for R71.6m.
The company, one of ten investors who had interests in the properties, was alleged to have bought the buildings from the provincial government.
A Thursday ruling by Judge Adolf Landman in the provincial high court found that the North West Housing Corporation (NWHC), which owned the buildings, had never signed a binding agreement of sale with Mr Property. This meant the subsequent auction was invalid.
"According to the ruling the property was government property. There was no sale, no binding agreement," Kgwele said.
"We expect heads to roll here. It calls into question how so many people were left homeless."
Landman dismissed Mr Property's claim of R22,6m against the NWHC with costs.