Ferdinand Rabie, Big Brother SA winner.

Cape Town - He shot to fame in 2001 when he won the R1 million prize in the first season of Big Brother.

However, this week – more than 11 years after he became an instant and rich celebrity – tour operator Ferdinand Rabie found himself at the receiving end of a Western Cape High Court application which claims he is broke.

The application, lodged by firm of attorneys Lucas Dysel Crouse, alleges that 38-year-old Rabie is broke, and calls for his estate to be sequestrated.

In an affidavit filed at court, attorney Lucas Dysel Crouse sketched the background to the application.

He said Rabie entered into a sale agreement with Jame Dreyer Martine in May/June 1997, in terms of which 10 percent of the members’ interest in his business, Ferdinand’s Tours and Adventures, was sold to Martine for R100 000.

The following year, in September, Martine sold his share back to Rabie for the same amount.

However, according to Crouse, Rabie initially failed to pay, prompting Martine to take steps to recover the amount.

Crouse said that in June 2010 his firm and Martine had entered into a memorandum of cession in terms of which the personal rights Martine had to recover the amount were ceded to the firm.

In response to various letters, Rabie wrote to Martine and said: “I don’t have money, even for a lawyer”. He asked for more time, saying he was in negotiations with an “investor”.

If the deal with the investor did not materialise, he would pay off the debt in monthly instalments of R5 000, Rabie told Martine.

Martine handed over the letter to Crouse, and a sequestration application was lodged in September 2010.

However, the matter was resolved and, in terms of a settlement agreement which was made an order of court, Rabie undertook to pay the R100 000, plus interest of 15.5 percent from September 2008, as well as the costs of the application and the collection costs.

The order recorded that the amount would be paid in instalments of R10 000.

According to Crouse, Rabie made several payments from October 5, 2010, to until November 2011, which totalled R120 000.

An additional payment of R35 803.11 was made in January this year.

Crouse said the only reason Rabie made the January payment was because he had received a taxed bill of costs, and was advised that execution steps would be taken if he failed to pay.

However, Rabie still owed the interest and the collection costs.

Crouse submitted that Rabie’s behaviour was “a clear indication that (he) is commercially and quite possibly also de facto insolvent”.

Crouse added that a deeds register search showed that Rabie owned property in Kraaifontein, and that there was a writ of execution endorsed against the property.

He said that, taking into account the mortgage bond and judgment registered over the property, “the probable proceeds from the sale of the immovable property would be zero”.

It was “almost a certainty”, he added, that Rabie would not qualify for any further finance to settle his liabilities or consolidate his debt.

Crouse submitted that it would be in the interest of creditors if Rabie’s estate was placed under sequestration, and a trustee appointed to investigate.

He has asked the court to grant a provisional sequestration order.

Rabie is opposing the application and has been given until March 22 to file his answering papers.

On Thursday the application was postponed to May 8.

Weekend Argus