The high life of an alleged cable theft king

The scrap metal dealer nabbed last weekend with allegedly stolen copper cable in his BMW X5 owns an opulent four-bedroom mansion that’s been featured on Top Billing.

Neil Davies’ posh pad in Joburg’s northern suburbs is on the market for R12.5 million and boasts custom-designed furniture, patterned wallpaper and an elaborate landscaped garden.

The Oaklands property – which a deed search shows Davies registered in his wife Lara’s name in 2011 for about R5.5 million – is being marketed by Pam Golding Properties.

On its website, the property group urges buyers to “prepare to fall in love with this Top Billing and SA Garden and Home featured home” that is set in a “lush, treed garden on 1?362 metres squared”.

Before moving into the Oaklands home, Davies lived in an equally plush townhouse in Abbotsford, also in northern Joburg. Court records obtained by City Press show that Davies and his Abbotsford neighbours, Etienne and Yuval Rozentvaig, were charged with fraud and an alternative charge of theft in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

The three allegedly sold sand to Davies’ previous employers, the New Reclamation Group (Reclam). They were allegedly paid the same price they would have got for scrap copper. All three were out on bail last week when Davies was nabbed again.

Davies was arrested with four others on charges of theft while piling copper into his BMW last week. Police officers believe the copper was stolen from Eskom power stations in Roodepoort.

Davies was granted bail on Friday. His co-accused were each granted bail of R3 000 on Thursday. He also has a pending criminal case at the Hillbrow Magistrates’ Court related to the theft of more than R100 000 in cash from a Reclam branch.

Attempts to contact Davies and his lawyers this week were unsuccessful.

Dealing with scrap metal is in the 44-year-old’s blood. He learnt the trade from his father, Lawrance, who ran a scrap metal recycling business on the West Rand. Davies qualified as an accountant in 1997, according to affidavits from a bruising court battle between him and Reclam.

He told the court that “his love of the scrap metals industry started as a child” and that eventually he wanted to take over his father’s business.

Davies joined Reclam after it bought his father’s business and, according to the affidavits, he traded in scrap locally and internationally, handling everything from price negotiation, logistics and monitoring supplies to building up close relationships with customers and suppliers, and submitting tenders for buying scrap from government.

Reclam’s attorney, Michael Strauss, told City Press that Davies was dismissed following “huge stock losses and theft” at the West Rand branches Davies managed.

The group took Davies and his new employers, West Rand Scrap, to court last year to try to enforce a restraint of trade agreement it made him sign in 2008. This came after Davies started to compete directly with his former employers following his dismissal.

Davies won the court battle, but Reclam appealed and judgment is pending. Industry insiders told City Press that Davies’ competition had dealt a significant blow to Reclam’s West Rand business.

But he has also wrecked his relationship with the current owners of West Rand Scrap. The owners, who asked not to be named, said that they wanted nothing to do with Davies.

“Every time I think about him, I get so furious. He did to us exactly what he did to Reclam. I want nothing to do with him. One day he’ll get what’s coming to him,” said one of the owners.

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