Property mogul Roux Shabangu is negotiating for electricity to be reconnected to the Middestad building in Pretoria, which he owns, his spokesman said on Thursday.
“Roux Property Fund (RPF) has been working on getting the electricity reconnected since Monday,” Percy Shabangu said in a statement.
He said they had offered to pay the municipality R500 000 every month towards the electricity bill, but the municipality rejected the offer.
The building had been without power since Monday as the owners owed the municipality more than R10 million. Water supply to the building was cut off on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have been negotiating on this offer, and it seems the municipality is not willing to assist in this regard. We are hoping they will reconsider our offer, hear our plea and acknowledge the frustration that this is causing not only to RPF, but to our tenants and their customers in turn.”
The city of Tshwane disconnected the electricity due to non-payment of municipal rates, the Pretoria News reported on Thursday.
“Shabangu said they understood the frustration and financial implication caused to their tenants. We understand the frustration and the financial implications this situation has caused and assure them that we have their best interest at heart and therefore will not stop trying to rectify this matter.”
The newspaper reported the building was at the centre of a legal battle between the department of public works and Shabangu. The city's high court was still expected to rule on whether the R500 million lease, which the SAPS signed for the building, should be declared null and void.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela declared the lease, signed between former police commissioner Bheki Cele and Shabangu, unlawful because proper tender procedures had not been followed.
Due to this disputed lease agreement the owners had apparently not been able to keep up with payments for municipal services.
Shabangu was said to have borrowed R248 million from Nedbank to purchase the Middestad building when the lease with Cele was agreed on. - Sapa