Juju pad goes to man in shades

Published May 10, 2013


Johannesburg - First there were nine, then two – on the right was bidder 797, with his wife for support. On the left, bidder 848, with his eyes hidden behind a pair of aviator sunglasses.

By R5 million, the other seven bidders had fallen away. Now it was down to the two: the husband who was involved in the investment game versus Norman Tloubatla, the sign design guy.

And for R900 000, they tussled for ownership of fallen ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s Sandown mansion, in increments of R100 000 and R50 000.

Up for grabs was the killer rooftop vista of the Sandton skyline, just four minutes’ drive away.

Tloubatla continued to eyeball his competitor over the rims of his sunglasses as the bidding hotted up.

Bidder 797 was a little more lighthearted, answering those glares with a smile as he kept raising his bidding card.

He had entered the game at R3.75 million – the price of an average house in the suburb.

Tloubatla had, however, held back until auctioneer Pieter Geldenhuys called R5m.

“It’s just money, you have to spend it on something,” chirped Geldenhuys, as dozens of journalists and spectators watched.

At R5.7m, the bidding stalled. Tloubatla, it appeared, had the winning bid.

But bidder 797 got his second wind, and raised his hand to an offer of R5.75m.

Tloubatla wouldn’t be deterred, even by the cameras pushed in his face and the journalists blocking his view of the auctioneer. He came back with R5.8m.

Bidder 797 took a look at his wife and raised his hand again – R5.85m.

Then came the R50 000 that decided it all – which pushed it up to R5.9m.

All bidder 797 could do was shake his head.

Tloubatla now owned an incomplete mansion with a cinema room, a cigar lounge, wine cellar, a coffee bar, a showroom garage, a spa bath, a walk-in dresser and a strongroom – and, of course, that stunning view of Sandton.

It later emerged that the two were acquaintances, the auctioneer let out.

But Tloubatla wouldn’t speak to the media, instead speeding off in his white Porsche Panamera.

What is known about him was gleaned from the documents he had to fill in to secure his winning bid. According to reports, Tloubatla hails from Malema's hometown of Seshego outside Polokwane in Limpopo and they have known each other since childhood.

Tloubatla, who lives in Fourways, is the chief executive of Magnified Designs. He is a director in several other companies.

Bidder 797 wasn’t keen to speak either.

He and his wife made a beeline to their separate cars, dodging journalists. He got into a white Volkswagen Golf, she behind the wheel of a black Jeep.

She wouldn’t reveal their names but said her husband was in the investment industry and she in the human resources field.

They had seen the house several days earlier and were looking for a family home away from Kyalami, where they currently live.

Tloubatla has already forked out his 10 percent deposit of R590 000 and has another 30 days to come up with the remaining R5.3m.

According to Sars, in its application to the Pretoria High Court earlier this year to put Malema under sequestration, the property was valued at R7.1m, but Malema purchased it for R3.6m.

An amount of R5.8m was paid to the building contractor in respect of the work done on the premises. - The Star

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