Zuma’s pension benefits could be attached after defaulting on VBS loan: Legal expert

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A legal expert says it is possible that some of former President Jacob Zuma’s pension benefits could be attached, following a summary judgment against him for R6.5 million outstanding on a loan. The curator of VBS Mutual Bank is currently waiting for a signed copy of the summary judgment by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg before they draw up a warrant to seize his assets.

This is to cover the outstanding amount of R6.5 million plus interest on a loan that Zuma defaulted on. Zuma took out a loan with VBS in 2016 to repay the state for non-security upgrades at his Nkandla home.

The curator of VBS Mutual Bank Anoosh Rooplal lodged the application with the court in 2019. This was after Zuma defaulted on the repayment of the loan .

The curator’s spokesperson , Louise Brugman, says the summary judgment was for immediate payment and that they are only waiting for a signed copy of the order before they start drawing up a warrant of execution for the sheriff to attach Zuma’s assets.

The property on which Zuma’s Nkandla home is built, is not part of the order.

Legal expert at the University of Pretoria , Professor Llewellyn Curlewis, says Zuma could lodge a court application to set aside the summary judgment. When it comes to the execution of the summary judgment, Curlewis explains it is possible that the curator may even attach some of Zuma’s pension benefits .

“Alternatively, if there is now immovable property available, then usually what happens, a warrant for movable property is then issued. And to the extent that there’s not sufficient movable assets to attach in favour of the creditors, then by implication all other movables like pension benefits for example. So, it’s a process. It’s not a given. The curator is supposed to convince the court where the money is supposed to be.”

Commenting on the order, VBS shareholder and founder Madambi Muvhulawa says Zuma must honour his loan agreement.

“As we understand Mr. Zuma defaulted and as such whoever defaulted then the liquidator should take steps to recover the money and we think that’s what the liquidator did. We appreciate that because it gives us hope that all that belongs to VBS would be collected for us to be paid whatever has been collected. So, we are pleased with the actions that the liquidator took and the court took.”

Zuma took up the loan to repay the state for some of the upgrades at his Nkandla home. This after the then Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela found that some of the R246 million upgrades in 2011, were in fact not security related.

These include the so-called fire pool, cattle kraal and chicken coops.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s report into Nkandla: 

Political Analyst Ralph Mathekga says Zuma’s woes keep piling up.

“The recent judgment against President Jacob Zuma that resulted in his assets being threatened or attached relating to the VBS scandal is just another matter, another pile-up on what he’s already experiencing now. He’s got legal challenges on multiple fronts. Challenges now relating to the parole, and the challenge relating to the corruption case, state capture and so forth.”

Meanwhile, the JG Zuma Foundation says Zuma is studying the judgment and is consulting his legal team.