Springbok rugby legend Naas Bothas estate has officially been sequestrated by the high court in Pretoria. File picture: Damaris Helwig

Pretoria - Rugby legend Naas Botha’s estate was provisionally sequestrated by the high court in Pretoria on Thursday, after a bank claimed he owed it more than R1.1 million on a mortgage bond for a property in Mooikloof, east of the city.

Hendrik Egnatius Botha – popularly known as Naas – was not at court, nor did he oppose the provisional sequestration application, although the papers were served on him by the sheriff.

He also did not submit an affidavit to the court setting out his possible defence.

Judge Peter Mabuse gave the retired Springbok fly-half until June 15, to oppose the application and give reasons as to why he should not be finally sequestrated.

Botha, a four-time Rugby Player of the Year winner, has been involved in a six-year financial battle with Nedbank.

In December 2009, the bank turned to court for the first time to demand that Botha and his wife, Karen, pay back the money they owed in terms of the mortgage.

His wife had obtained a bond from Nedbank in January 2006 to buy the property, and Botha signed surety for it.

As the couple defended the bank’s action, Nedbank decided to settle after the Bothas undertook to make certain payments.

Dana van Zyl, a legal adviser for Nedbank, said in court documents, that shortly after the settlement, Karen sold the property for an amount which was not enough to repay the full loan amount.

The couple also failed to make regular monthly instalments to the bank, as agreed.

At that time, the couple owed the bank R1 357 474 and was due to pay back R17 000 a month over seven years. A new agreement was then signed, in terms of which Nedbank agreed to reduce the monthly instalments to R8 500 a month.

Van Zyl said the couple once again fell in arrears and a third agreement was entered into last year. By then the amount owed was about R1.1m.

Van Zyl said the couple failed to pay the debt in March, June and July last year. The bank then decided to withdraw the agreement.

Last August, the court ordered the couple to pay the more than R1.1m, and a month later an order was issued that their movable property could be sold on execution to recover the money.

The sheriff went to the couple’s Lynnwood Park home to serve the warrant of execution. The sheriff said he gave the notice to Botha, who said he did not have money nor disposable assets.

The sheriff, having returned empty-handed, said in a statement: “No disposable assets were either pointed out to me or could be found after a diligent search.”

Van Zyl said it would be to the advantage of the creditors if the estate could be sequestrated and a trustee appointed to investigate Botha’s financial affairs.

He questioned Botha’s reported lack of funds and said the legend was a well-known television presenter, who provided commentary on rugby games, and represented the Springboks as fly-half from 1980 to 1992. “He lives in an upmarket residential area and his income is likely to be higher than average.”

Van Zyl submitted that Botha also stated on his online profile that he “drives a Toyota Prado… his favourite holiday is visiting Mickey and Minnie at Disney World and his hobby is golf, golf and more golf…”

Botha was in the past or still is a director of 42 corporate entities, he added.

According to Van Zyl, Botha had in September 2011 issued a statement to the bank reflecting his assets were valued at R16.4m. “It is strange that all these assets could have dissipated in a period of five years,” Van Zyl said.

Nedbank said it had no knowledge of his income, assets and whether Karen was gainfully employed. It said that a trustee should investigate these issues.

Karen was earlier declared insolvent by the court, after she could not repay the property debt to Nedbank.

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