as things fall apart
The daughter of a Cabinet minister and her estranged husband – who may not be named for legal reasons – are not only on the verge of losing their estate worth R25 million after the couple breached a loan agreement with a family trust, but are also going through a divorce process, which could be the reason they reneged on the loan agreement.
According to a source, the divorce matter has impeded the couple’s obligations towards the trust to such an extent that the creditor, FirstRand Bank, has lodged an application at the Johannesburg High Court for a writ of execution for their farmhouse.
Last month, FirstRand Bank lodged a court application in an attempt to recoup more than R5 million lent to the trust in a deal referred to as the “facility agreement”, signed by the couple as trustees.
On October 27 2011, the couple put up a Pretoria-based farmhouse owned by the trust as security after the loan agreement was reached on September 23 of the same year.
According to the court documents, the agreement stipulated that the trust would make monthly payments of R38 821 for 20 years, with the estate covered as a security bond. The papers also showed that the trust was in arrears of R269 328. The last payment made was in October last year.
“The suretyship by the third and fourth respondents is limited to all sums due or which become due to the applicant (FirstRand Bank) arising out of the facility agreement … The trust [is] obliged to repay the debit balance, being the amount advanced together with interest and costs owing, according to the facility type…” read the court documents.
“At the time of the registration of the bond (as security) in favour of the applicant, the trust was aware of the need to secure all and any indebtedness due by it to the applicant by way of the bond and willingly registered it unto and in favour of the applicant with understanding in mind.”
The bank noted in the papers that the property was, to its knowledge, the only asset of value owned by the trust.
City Press has also learnt that the minister’s daughter has attempted to freeze the couple’s assets pending divorce proceedings heard at the same court.
The court documents read: “The marriage relationship between the parties has broken down irretrievably and has reached such a state of disintegration that there is no reasonable prospect of restoration of a normal marriage relationship by reason of the following facts and circumstances.
“The parties no longer have love and affection for each other … The parties no longer wish to be married to each other. The defendant made living in the marital home intolerable for the wife, forcing her to move out of the marital home … The parties have been separated and have not lived together as husband and wife for many months; and the defendant has been violent towards her on various occasions.”
The minister’s daughter could not be reached for comment.
However, her husband said he was aware of the bank’s court application.
“I received court documents about this matter on Thursday, August 12. My attorneys and I have yet to fully consider their contents and to file our response. Many meetings about the dispute have taken place with the bank’s attorney and I feel confident that it will be resolved.
“[I can only say that] I dispute the claim against me and I’ll be defending [myself against it]. I have no further comment at this stage,” he said.
The husband also claimed that the divorce action was withdrawn by his wife, “because the allegations had no merit. The domestic and financial abuse allegations were also without merit and those were withdrawn in court as well.”
However, City Press has seen a document that shows that he demanded a sum of R10 million during the divorce settlement proceedings.