(Written 27 Jul 2011)
Dear All,
I don’t know how much of this is true.
Apparently the Dept of Public Works, which hires government office space over 5 year terms, claims they have a directive (they won’t say from whom) that the government will no longer rent buildings from companies that aren’t ONE HUNDRED PERCENT black-owned – this isn’t even BEE, it’s unconstitutional.When white-owned leases are up, the Dept of Public Works gives notice, like the latest case in Pretoria. The owners are caught in a bind with a soon-to-be empty building. But help arrives by way of a white middleman who makes an offer for their building (R26.8 million), even though they haven’t let anyone know of their predicament. The middleman immediately sells the building to an all-black company for R37.5 million.
But no-one has the money for these deals, so Nedbank promises the black company (which has no assets ) a bond of R60 million (yes, more than the building is worth) if the Government signs the lease. Why is Nedbank so generous? Because the rent for the building, which the government still occupies, will rise from R1.2 million to R9 million per annum. A guaranteed cash flow… if the government still wants it at nearly 8 times the old price, that is. “It’s better than buying government bonds from the Reserve Bank because the interest rates are much higher,” says a confidential Nedbank source.Hhmmm…lets see….R1.2 million if they extend the old lease, or R9 million for the new one… that’s a tricky one. So they make a written commitment to the new lease for a 9 year and 11 month period, subject to a deed of sale to the black company within 60 days. Such a 10-year lease requires the signature of, and so implicates, the Public Works Minister.
Noseweek points out that Nedbank, by accepting rental payments in redemption of their bond, are the recipient of the proceeds of a crime. The scheme would have collapsed if not funded by the bank, which now claims client confidentiality to avoid explaining ‘their key role in a criminal conspiracy.’
Meanwhile, the Auditor General just got a 65% increase from Parliament for not doing his job.
Noseweek reckons that things must be pretty desperate when you have to quote Ayn Rand, so they do:
“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favours; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you …. you may know that your society is doomed.”
PS: Noseweek has handed their file to the Public Protector, ‘as if her hands weren’t full already.’  Don’t expect results anytime soon.