The Guptas' Saxonwold-lite home in Cape Town seems to be heavy on water

2018-02-19 19:00

Cape Town – With members of the Gupta family on the run from the Hawks, their Constantia mansion appears to be abandoned. But it seems the controversial brothers from Saxonwold are not all that’s been left running.

Despite the drought, someone in the Gupta-owned compound in the affluent suburb of Constantia seems to have left the taps running. This prompted the City of Cape Town to install a water management device in an attempt to restrict the property’s water usage.

During the City's worst drought in decades, the Gupta-owned property was using more than 20 kilolitres per month. Water management devices cut off the water supply to a property once a fixed daily allocation has been reached, preventing over-consumption as the City attempts to mitigate the effects of the drought. 

The device was fitted due to a contravention of level 4B water restrictions, confirmed Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services, and Energy, Cllr Xanthea Limberg.

At the time, all residents using more than 20 kilolitres per month without justification were liable to have such a device fitted at their property. The current level 6B restricts this further to 10,5 kilolitres per household per month.

READ: Level 6 water restrictions for Cape Town from January - how will it work?

With the Guptas only staying intermittently on the property, it is unclear what the water is being used for. It was however apparent that the lawns of the property were in good conditions and the pool, as viewed from a neighbouring property, appeared well maintained.

The well maintained lawns of 10 Dawn Street. (Jean le Roux, News24)

The Guptas make infrequent use of the Constantia-property. Some neighbours in the area say the Guptas have not been seen at their compound in affluent Constantia in months, while others saw the Guptas arriving in a black motorcade late last year - but only for a few days. 
Despite this, the City has deemed it necessary to install a device on the premises of “Saxonwold-lite”.

The property was locked and appeared abandoned when News24 arrived. An adjacent stand provided a view into what lies beyond the whitewashed 2-metre walls that enclose the street-facing perimeter of the property.

Chains and locks bar entry to the Guptas' Constantia compound. (Jean le Roux, News24)

Staff on the grounds confirmed that only the three staff members live on the property and that the family had not stayed there for months.

The mansion formerly belonged to Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

In January 2005, Thatcher pleaded guilty to an attempted coup of Equatorial Guinea, after he was arrested for funding the operation from within the (ironically) thatch-roofed building.

READ: Mark Thatcher bankrolled coup

It seems fitting that the Saxonwold state-capturers would assume ownership of the same building used to plan a coup a few years earlier.

Deeds office records show that the Gupta-owned Islandsite Investments 180 (Pty) Ltd purchased the 8 105-square metre property for R17m in 2005.

The location of the property on Dawn Road in Constantia. (Picture via Google Earth)

Documents contained in the Gupta Leaks emails show that Islandsite Investments 180 is a majority (54%) shareholder in Linkway Trading, the "project management" company that arranged and paid for the infamous Waterkloof wedding.

It also holds a 40% stake in Oakbay Investments. Atul, Tony, Chetali and Arti Gupta are joint directors of the Islandsite Investments 180, which each also holds a 25% stake in the company.

Islandsite Investments 180 is also the owner of ZA-AKG, a Cessna 680, reportedly used in an attempt to smuggle precious stones through OR Tambo International Airport's Fireblade terminal.

In addition, Islandsite Investments 180 is the owner of the Sahara building in Midrand. Last week, News24 reported that the building stands abandoned, with furniture and boxes left behind in what appears to be a hasty exit.

How the ownership of the property was structured through Islandsite Investments 180. (Jean le Roux, News24)

ALSO READ: Guptas' Sahara Computers closed, abandoned

Ajay Gupta was declared a fugitive from justice after failing to present himself at the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court last week. He stands accused with 12 others in respect of the Estina Dairy Farm project, where taxpayer’s money was laundered to pay for a lavish Gupta wedding in 2013.

The whereabouts of the other two brothers, Tony and Ajay, have not been confirmed. The third brother, Atul Gupta, has confirmed that he is out of the country. 

It emerged on Monday that he lodged an application to set aside the preservation order safeguarding the R10m he allegedly received in respect of the Estina-project.

He claims there is no evidence that he received any such funds, and that the NPA was “dishonest” and misled the court.

The affidavit was deposed in Dubai and commissioned at the South African Consulate in Dubai.

READ MORE: Atul Gupta affidavit signed in Dubai

Read more on:    gupta family  |  drought  |  water crisis

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