The two Cape Town properties bought by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have been declared to Parliament and the Cabinet, the presidency said.
It was responding to a report in City Press which stated Ramaphosa’s new luxury mansion will be built at the foot of Lion’s Head in Cape Town on a large stretch of prime land he bought for R30m.
Ramaphosa bought two steep mountain-side plots in upper Fresnaye in 2010, apparently to build his “retirement home”, a well-placed source told City Press.
On Sunday, presidency spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said in a statement it had noted the City Press report.
“The Presidency wishes to put it on record that two properties were acquired in 2010 through a loan secured against a different property under his family’s Tshivhase Trust,” he said.
“The ownership of the two Cape Town properties forms part of Deputy President Ramaphosa’s financial declarations to Parliament and Cabinet. The Presidency raises its concern that an article of this nature could be published without seeking comment from the office of the Deputy President.”
According to the report, the plots are registered to the Tshivhase Trust – Ramaphosa’s family trust – at the deeds office and have a combined size of 1 423m².
This means the deputy president forked out R21 000 per square meter just for the land, and excavation and building are bound to cost many more millions.
Ramaphosa is one of South Africa’s richest men, with a fortune estimated at R6.8bn by Bloomberg last month.
The plots are some of the last undeveloped tracts of land on sea-facing Head Road, which follows the contours of the mountain and is considered to be one of the country’s poshest streets.
At the building site last week, construction staff were hard at work excavating and clearing the site. They told City Press that the billionaire politician stopped by to personally inspect their handiwork just two weeks ago.
Ramaphosa was whisked up Fresnaye’s narrow streets in a two-car convoy and was accompanied by security guards when he got out for a chat with the crew at the building site.
“Yes, he was very friendly and, I mean, it’s a big honour to work for the Deputy President,” said one worker, speaking from behind the wheel of a monster excavation machine.
Workers have toiled there for the past two and a half months, balancing heavy machinery on a sheer precipice to blast granite from the mountainside in order to create a flat surface where the deputy president’s new house will be built.
They are nearly finished with that, and soon a new team will arrive to dig foundations for the house.
City Press caught a glimpse of the building plans for Ramaphosa’s villa, which will have a swimming pool and a deck with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and Robben Island.
“Ja, the views are amazing. Just look at Robben Island,” said one observer. “On clear days, the Deputy President will be able to pinpoint Madiba’s very cell.”
Ramaphosa has a sizeable property portfolio, which includes a game farm near Bela-Bela in Limpopo and a mansion in the upmarket Johannesburg suburb of Hyde Park.
He also gets exclusive use of a secure, Victorian-style mansion in Pretoria as his official residence, but City Press understands that he prefers to stay in his home in Hyde Park when he is in Gauteng.
City Press also understands that the Fresnaye property is intended as a retirement home for Ramaphosa and his wife, Dr Tshepo Motsepe, who is mining magnate Patrice Motsepe’s sister.
However, his security detail may just wreak havoc along the narrow mountain streets.
Ramaphosa’s new neighbours do not appear to be short of cash either. At a villa next door, two Bentleys could be seen parked side by side in a glass-encased garage, and a Porsche drove by while City Press were there.
The Ramaphosas’ neighbours on Head Road will include US television and film producer Mark Gordon. Gordon, former president of the Producers’ Guild of America, filmed parts of the Warner Brothers fantasy flick 10 000 BC in Cape Town in 2006.
Just down the road, former Springbok coach Harry Viljoen sold his biscuit-coloured mansion – called Moondance – for R110m in 2013. News24