Report on allegedly corrupt Huddle Park land deal delayed

Adam Wakefield, News24

Johannesburg - A report by the Public Protector's office on alleged corruption in the Huddle Park land deal has been delayed by nearly two years because the SA Council for the Property Valuers Profession is yet to make its expected submission.

"The Public Protector is still waiting for an additional submission that will form part of the report from South African Council for Property Valuers Profession [SACPVP] Disciplinary Tribunal," spokesperson Kgalalalelo Masibi told News24.

"[The] SACPVP is conducting this process to establish if the valuer who evaluated the land for R40m conducted himself properly in coming to that value."

The land was allegedly sold below value with no public participation process.

Masibi said the valuer assessed the land at R40m and the municipality sold it at R46m, including VAT and a facilitation fee, to banking company Investec. But some believe the land was worth as much as R400m.

"The CEO of SACPVP is aware that the Public Protector is awaiting its report on the matter and he has promised to avail the report to Public Protector the moment they have completed this process," she said.

The SACPVP did not respond to questions sent to them by News24.

The consortium that bought the land from the Johannesburg Property Company comprises Investec Property, Standard Bank Properties and Global Capital Alliance.

A total of 53 hectares of Huddle Park was purchased by the consortium in a tender process run by the City of Johannesburg in January 2011.

A complaint was laid with the Public Protector in May 2012 by a group called Friends of Huddle Park, which claimed the land was actually worth at least R400m. The group had the land independently valued, based on residential rates. The group claimed the land was sold below value.

It said no public participation was sought prior to the sale.

On November 5 2013 the Bedfordview and Edenvale News reported a spokesperson for the Public Protector's office saying it was waiting for the SACPVP's submission.