The estimated R200 million mansion being built in Ballito and rumoured to be owned by Robert Mugabe or one of his generals. Picture: Brian Spurr

Mystery continues to surround the mansion on the hill next door to Zimbali. And it seems that not even the local town planner has been adequately briefed on the details of the development.

Ballito residents and estate agents have been buzzing with the word for months that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe or one of his generals, Robert Mhlanga, is building the estimated R200 million mansion complete with two man-made lakes, bullet proof windows, a helipad and an underground bunker beneath a security building.

DA councillor Colin Marsh said building inspectors, armed with copies of articles and published photos that appeared in The Independent on Saturday and Sunday Tribune, were recently refused access to the site when they arrived to check the plans and the building progress.

However, a spokesman for KwaDukuza municipality, Sifiso Zulu, said this week that the inspectors had eventually been allowed access to the site.

Marsh said he had done a deeds search on the properties, which he said were in the names of Straightprops 92 of which Martin Sherwood is a director, and local restaurateur Robert Mauvis, who are believed to be the sellers.

However, the IOS has established that one portion of the land on which the development lies is still in the name of Michelle Mauvis, the restaurateur’s wife, despite the fact that a local estate agent said the property had been sold a year ago. The seller of the other portion is believed to be Straightprops 92.

On why the property transfer was not yet reflected in the deeds office, Mauvis said: “Until the money is in the bank, it has not been sold.”

When the IOS asked Zulu who owned the properties; whether an enviromental impact study had been done, and whether plans had been submitted and approved for the new development, he could not provide clarity.

“With regard to the issues you have raised, the municipal (sic) is still establishing a number of things related to this development, including the ones you have raised,” Zulu said.

Meanwhile, the Southern African Litigation Centre welcomed a North Gauteng High Court ruling confirming that SA had an obligation under domestic and international law to probe and prosecute international crimes against humanity.

Centre director Nicole Fritz said the organisation had a docket that had sufficient evidence to launch an investigation into allegations of torture as crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe.