Investors join hands in pursuing Metsi Pepa developers

Investors join hands in pursuing Metsi Pepa developers

On Tuesday I played golf in an Investec Golf Day and was paired with some other attorneys in a fourball. One of the attorneys was Johan Botha, who is mentioned in this article. He is the attorney for the developers, although he never mentioned it during the round or at the 19th hole. He was a nice enough gentleman and so I wish him luck in sorting out this mess. -- Gareth

Four years down the line stakeholders are demanding their money back.

A group of at least 70 investors in the failed North West province Metsi Pepa development have rallied together in taking civil and criminal action against developers Nicola Prinsloo and her husband, Jaco. In an e-mail dated September 23 2011, Nicola Prinsloo informed investors that the development had been sold to Land Affairs, allegedly for 30% less than its monetary value. Her legal counsel, Johan Botha, subsequently offered investors 40c in the rand as compensation.

Moneyweb knows of at least one investor who has been reimbursed but has confirmed with Johan Botha that at least 75 of 200 investors have been paid. The investor who received 40c in the rand will continue to fight for the remainder he/she is owed. A number of investors who met in northern Johannesburg at the weekend also plan legal action.

A statement following the meeting reads: “At least 70 people have already indicated that they want to go ahead with plans to criminally and civilly prosecute the developers and all associated parties in this scheme. These investors are seeking an urgent court interdict to have assets frozen to prevent more money from disappearing.”

Attorney Spencer Tarr and advocate Robin Stransham-Ford are representing the investors. One of the disgruntled investors said at Saturday’s meeting: “We never saw anything of the promises made to us in four years come true and even at this late stage we are still being lied to and kept in the dark.” Moneyweb revealed in August that the land earmarked for the development had been sold. Investors were told as recently as July that the development was still on track and that investors would be allocated shares in land. The offer was backed up by an e-mail from Botha, but this also never materialised.

The development was dogged by controversy since its inception over the alleged breach of conditions set out by a Department of Agriculture record of decision (ROD). The ROD stipulated that no building could take place within at least 30m from wetlands on the farm which is situated near the Klerkskraal dam of the Mooi River. This condition was allegedly breached by Jaco Prinsloo when he removed reeds from the wetlands. The authorities got wind of it and the development basically came to a standstill.

In the meantime Nicola and the marketer of the development, Cherie Eilertsen of Platinum Planet, were assuring investors. Now it appears a storm is brewing between the Prinsloos and Eilertsen with each blaming the other for irregularities. After Botha made the 40c offer to investors, Eilertsen SMSed investors informing them not to accept the offer as she could negotiate a better settlement. Eilertsen’s lawyer Antoon Botha confirmed the SMS. It’s understood the two legal counsel are set to meet later this week.


Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!