“The home is in a state of disrepair after many years of neglect” reads a property listing for a house in one of Cape Town’s poshest suburbs. The property in question belonged to the Gupta family.
The seven-bedroom Gupta family mansion in Constantia, Cape Town, is listed for sale for R20-million. Constantia is one of the priciest residential areas in Cape Town and one of the most expensive in the southern suburbs.
According to business rescue practitioners, the sale is in order to retain the value for “whatever value” is left of the estate.
The Bel Ombre property is 8,105m2. An online video of the property shows a green pool, a thatched roof in disarray and several pockets of unkempt grass. Agent Richard Huxham-Hardie, from Hardie Property , which listed the property, confirmed to Daily Maverick that it had been listed for sale on 30 December 2022 – and that the company was aware of the property’s association with the Gupta family.
The Guptas bought the property in 2005 for R17-million. In 2017, TimesLive reported there were concerns raised about planned upgrades such as a large gatehouse/generator room with bulletproof glass, enlarged staff quarters and a better lapa, among other changes — which caused ire among residents. Prior to the Guptas’ ownership, the home belonged to Mark Thatcher, son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
The Guptas bought the property through their asset company, Islandsite Investments 180 — which also owns the infamous Saxonwold mansion, where a former government minister and senior state agencies officials were seen coming out with bags of money, according to their drivers/protectors.
Read in Daily Maverick: “Gigaba, Molefe, Gama, Pita and Singh were leaving Gupta house with bags of money, say witnesses”
The company is currently part of a restraint by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Islandsite was attached in June 2021 when the Investigating Directorate (ID) of the NPA obtained an interim order to secure assets belonging to members of the Gupta family and former associate Iqbal Sharma and his company Nulane Investments 204, pending the outcome of a criminal case. It is owned by Gupta brothers Atul and Rajesh, their wives Chetali and Arti.
In June 2021, Daily Maverick reported the NPA had executed a wide-ranging restraint order for assets belonging to the Guptas and their former associate, Iqbal Sharma. Assets being restrained included Islandsite Investments — one of eight Gupta-owned businesses in business rescue.
Bouwer van Niekerk, speaking on behalf of the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRP) told Daily Maverick that the sale was done in conjunction with a curator and BRP. “Due to the property falling into disrepair, it was decided to sell the property to retain whatever value is left.”
Van Niekerk said that Gupta’s infamous Saxonwold property is not for sale at this stage.
He confirmed that the NPA also agreed to the Constantia property being sold.
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Daily Maverick approached the NPA for comment earlier this week — we are still awaiting a response. Initially, our queries to the NPA spokesperson and Head of Communications received an “out of office” response on 3 January. Daily Maverick was then referred to Isaac Dhludhlu, Director of Media Relations. Despite assurances that responses were received and were in the process of being taken care of by the Investigating Directorate, Daily Maverick received no response by 6 January 2023. In one instance, the NPA said there were delays due to team members still being on leave.
In June 2022, Daily Maverick reported the arrest of Atul and Rajesh Gupta in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In July, the NPA confirmed it had requested an extradition request to UAE authorities — which is still ongoing. The brothers are facing extradition for two criminal cases: the Estina dairy farm matter and the Nulane Investments fraud and money laundering case, both in the Free State.
Read in Daily Maverick: Refused bail, Atul and Rajesh Gupta remain in custody in UAE amid SA extradition request
Daily Maverick contacted Stiaan Krause, a lawyer for the Guptas, to confirm if the family put the mansion up for sale. To date, he has not responded. DM