ANC falls behind on rent payment

Johannesburg – The ANC is suffering the biggest embarrassment of its political history for failing to pay rent for a building in Joburg.

The governing party, which seems to be in a financial quagmire after some of its benefactors appeared to have turned their backs on Africa’s oldest liberation movement, now faces the possibility of being evicted and having a bad credit record because of its tardiness.

The party is now more than R1-million in arrears after failing to pay rent and utilities for several months. The humiliating details are contained in court papers filed in the Joburg High Court by the party’s landlord, Olitzki Property Holdings.

According to the papers, which are in our possession, the ANC and Olitzki Property Holdings, represented by Anton Simone Jaffe, entered into a lease agreement on February 5 last year to occupy the entire office component of the ninth and 18th floors, as well as the northern wing of the 17th floor and 25 parking bays in the company’s building in Main Street, Joburg.

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The ANC was supposed to pay more than R180 000 in monthly rental, which was supposed to increase by 10% a year.

The organisation also agreed to pay value-added tax (VAT) or any tax imposed by law, for water and electricity and other municipal services.

The lease agreement, which is titled “the first agreement”, was supposed to end on July 31 last year. Upon the expiry of the “first agreement”, the two parties entered into another lease agreement, titled “the second agreement”, on August 13 last year.

In the second agreement, the party only occupied the entire office component of the ninth and 18th floors and 10 parking bays of the building. In terms of the second agreement, which was expected to expire on August 1 next year, the ANC was expected to pay R97 260, which was supposed to increase by 8% a year, plus VAT.

The ANC was also expected to continue to pay rent and for utilities beyond the end of the lease agreement until it has removed its furniture, installations and equipment from the premises. The company said the ANC breached the agreement when it failed to pay rent and as a result, it was R1 149 619 in arrears.

It is seeking judgment against the ANC for the full amount plus “interest thereon at the rate of 2% per month, alternatively 7% per annum”, according to the court papers. It is not clear why the ANC rented space when it owns the humungous Luthuli House building in the city. ANC spokesperson, Pule Mabe, said they will study the papers and respond accordingly.

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