So where's the cash?
How to weave a tangled JSE property web.
When in 2006, estate agents Engel & Volkers introduced Sue and Erik Howland to a prospective buyer of their historic Gerard Moerdyk house in Pretoria, they believed they’d got lucky.
A company owned by former Anglo American computer-audit specialist Morrison Smit and his business partner Kobus van den Berg, was prepared to pay R4.3 million for the house – and give them a share of the company.
The Cape Dutch house, at 163 Charles Street in the once-leafy Arcadia, features an olive tree in the large grounds that was planted by General Jan Smuts, a friend of the first owner, Judge Farrell. Architect Moerdyk is famous for designing the Voortrekker Monument.
The Howlands were selling because they had decided to leave their busy city lives behind. Sue ran a successful medical glove and sock company called Soo Concepts and Erik was sales manager of Hall & Pickles Labelling. They planned to try their hand at farming macadamia nuts in Mpumalanga.
The purchase offer was accepted and a few months later R2.6m of the selling price was paid on transfer, as agreed. The outstanding balance of R1.6m was treated as a loan to the purchasing company, Dartingo Trading (Pty) Ltd, of which Smit and Van den Berg were the directors. Sue Howland was to get interest on the loan, a third of the company’s shares, and a share of the profits when the house was re-sold after refurbishment.