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BRING E25M, OWN WOODLANDS CENTRE

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mfanukhona@times.co.sz

 

EZULWINI – Woodlands Conference Centre, which hosted  the Miss Eswatini Beauty Pageant in 2011 and 2014, will now be sold for E25 million.

Initially, the reserve price for the spacious centre or hall and other facilities such as a restaurant building, shop complex, chalets, store rooms and parking bay was fixed at E32.2 million. 

It effectively means, therefore, that the reserve price has since been reduced by E7.2 million. It could not be immediately ascertained why the reserve price has gone down from the previous one.

However, the issued Writ of Execution states that the property, which is owned by a company under the directorship of well known businesswoman and former Senator Thandi Maziya, will be auctioned in public outside the High Court of Eswatini on December 11, 2020. The activity will start at 11am.

portion

The property is owned by the Parklands Group (Pty) Ltd. It is situated on Portion 158 (a portion of 147) of Farm No.50. It is located adjacent to the Eswatini Revenue Authority Head Office and not very far from the International Convention Centre and Five Star Hotel which are under construction.

The Registrar of the High Court stated in a Gazette that conditions of sale are available for inspection at the office of the Sheriff in the High Court Building in Mbabane.

The property measures 1, 3194 hectares. The public auction emanates from a court battle between Swaziland (Eswatini) Development and Savings Bank and The Parklands Group (Pty) Ltd, which is cited as the first respondent, while Thandi Maziya is the second respondent.   

According to a previous notice of sale (writ of attachment issued by the High Court of Eswatini, the public auction for the property was slated for July 17, 2020.

It was also going to be held outside the High Court building at the same time (11am.) 

Actually, the reserve price for the property was E32 290 000.

A reserve price is a minimum price a seller is willing to accept from a buyer.

The company that runs the facility is understood to be indebted to the bank for a sum amounting to E2 333 051.16. According to the law, if the property is finally bought for E25 million or above, the creditor will take the amount of money equivalent to the outstanding loan balance and give the difference to the debtor. 

Say, a bidder purchases the property for E25 million, the difference is E22 666 949.00. This is correct if the initial reports that the company owed E2 333 051.16 held water.

 It could not be ascertained if administrative costs are charged on the debtor or creditor’s account.

It must be mentioned though that there was a time when Eswatini Bank (Swaziland Development and Savings Bank) threatened to attach portion 52 of Farm Tubungu No.300 in Manzini for a reserve price of E1.6 million. That was in July 2018 when the bank alleged to have been owed a sum of E24 million by the same company, and also placed the same facility (Woodlands) for auctioning.  

In August 2018, representing her company, Maziya moved an application in court seeking to stop the intended sale of her company’s property for E47 million just to recover a debt of slightly over E2 million.

properties

The properties were still Portion 158 of Portion 147 Farm No.50 situated in Ezulwini, measuring 1.3 hectares and Portion 52 of Farm Tubungu No.300 which is 9 999 square metres.

The Ezulwini property, according to Maziya, was valued at E43 031 172 while the one in Tubungu was worth E4 400 000.

The reserve price, as it appeared in the notice of sale, was E20 million in respect of Portion 158 of Farm 50 and that of the Tubungu property was E1 600 000.

The auction was temporarily stopped pending the determination of the urgent application that Maziya filed at the High Court. Maziya, who is the director of The Parklands Group (Pty) Ltd, sought an order declaring the notice of sale null and void. 

She had also wanted the court to set aside the writ of attachment and notice of sale. Maziya had argued that the notice culminated from the issuance of an order on June 25, 2014, compelling her company to pay the bank a sum of E2 333 051.16.

Her company was represented by Dumisa Khumalo of Howe Masuku Nsibande Attorneys.

Maziya said the order was made after the bank had issued summons demanding payment of a sum of E3 736 979.32, which it then sought to recover through the auction.

Maziya argued that this was not the amount which the court ordered her or her company to pay the bank but the sum of E2 333 051.16. 

“The respondent (Eswatini Bank) has proceeded, to my surprise to endorse the writ, notice of attachment and notice of sale for a judgment it did not obtain in the aforesaid court process. The amount they seek to recover is the amount of E3 736 979.32, instead of that ordered by the court,” Maziya submitted.

The matter has been dragging in court until now that a writ of execution has been issued. Eswatini Bank was represented by prominent attorneys, S.V. Mdladla and Associates.  

It remains to be seen if the public auction slated for the Friday of December 11, 2020 will materialise this time around. Ex-Senator Maziya is not the only one to face the wrath of the Eswatini Bank. 

In 1999, Eswatini Bank instituted court proceedings against the late land baron and sugar tycoon Dumisa Dlamini whose properties were attached and sold upon default of debts incurred by his six companies.

 After the man who used to host the first black South African President, Nelson Mandela, in his hotels in Mpumalanga, had fallen from riches and being unable to service his financial commitments, properties worth many millions of Emalangeni and Rands, both in Eswatini and South Africa, were repossessed by his creditors. 

His insolvent estate was placed under sequestration, in both countries, and various former assets were sold on auctions.

Thought to be owing around E60 million, Dlamini’s companies that attracted judgments were Swazi Inn (Pry) Ltd which reportedly owed El 278 510.21; Dumisa Sugar Corporation (Pty) Ltd at E42 228 399.11; The New George Hotel (Pty) Ltd at E5 186 813.79; Mackay Investments (Pty) Ltd (Smokey Mountain Village) at E766 263.78; Uncle Charlie Hotel (Pty) Ltd (Velebantfu Hotel) at E369 754.79; and the sixth company, The Property Company (Pty) Ltd (Mgenule Hotel) at E748 270.50. In each case, costs and interest was also ordered.

Dlamini was one of the celebrated indigenous businesspeople in Eswatini who was so powerful that he would convene a press conference to slam a chief justice.  



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