Newly sworn-in ANC MP Brian Molefe scored a massive discount on a luxury “platinum” mansion in an upmarket Pretoria estate while he was CEO of Eskom, a News24 investigation has revealed.
Molefe bought a sprawling property in the Cornwall Hill Estate, with its own cigar lounge and gym, for R10 million from his friend and former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) colleague, Tshepo Mahloele, in January last year.
The R10m sale is 41% less than the R17 million the property was originally advertised for – and approximately R4 million less than an offer made on the house by a prospective buyer, according to an estate agent with knowledge of the transaction.
Mahloele said the transaction was “bona fide” and “above board”, but did not explain why he sold his property at a significant discount. Molefe did not respond to queries.
The transaction may put the former Transnet and Eskom boss in a conflict of interest quandary if he is appointed to the finance ministry by President Jacob Zuma, as is widely speculated.
Mahloele is the CEO of Harith General Partners, a boutique fund manager started with state money by the PIC in 2007 to invest government pensions in infrastructure projects outside South Africa. Molefe, who was PIC chief executive at the time, is credited with establishing Harith.
As minister or deputy minister of finance, Molefe would be involved in PIC investment decisions, including transactions involving Harith. This means Molefe could be exposed to decisions that would benefit his property benefactor – Mahloele.
A series of advertisements by local estate agents confirm that Mahloele intended selling the house for R17 million. Local estate agents were shocked when they later learnt that the house had sold for only R10 million.