Mmusi Maimane: 'I moved my family because we were getting death threats'
DA leader Mmusi Maimane moved from the parliamentary village in Cape Town to a R3.85m house in Claremont because he and his family were getting death threats, the opposition leader said on Sunday.
"I had initially taken the decision to move from the parliamentary village in Acacia Park due to threats against my family and me, including intimidation and death threats," he said in a statement, adding that articles on Sunday revealing his address had put them at further risk.
Maimane was responding to reports in Rapport and City Press newspapers that he had listed a house worth almost R4m as one of his assets on the parliamentary registery – but that he does not own the home. It was bought by a shelf company, owned by Durban businessman Wessel Jacobs, who purchased the house for R3.85 in September 2017.
After the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper confronted him about declaring the house as an asset, Maimane made an about-turn, saying he was actually renting it from an old friend. Neither Maimane nor Jacobs would divulge how much rent he was paying.
Maimane said in his statement that he had declared the property despite not owning it because he believed he was required to do so.
"I wish to use this opportunity to state upfront that I believe there is nothing unlawful or illegal about the home or its purchase. If required, I am open to discussing this matter in the appropriate fora within the party.
"The facts in this matter are as follows:
- I currently reside in the house referred to along with my family, and have done so since 2017;
- I do not own the house. Rather it is owned by a company of which a family friend, Mr Wessel Jacobs, is the sole director;
- I rent the house from this company, and have done so since 2017;
- I declared the house in question in my Declaration of Members’ Interests in both 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 as I believed I was required to as a Member of Parliament. This was in order to be above board in the event of any scrutiny;
- It now appears that I was not required to declare a home I am renting, therefore I over-declared the property in my Declaration of Members’ Interests;
- Sunday’s story is regrettable in that it has placed my family at risk by plastering images of the house on the front page of a national newspaper, as well as indicating how anyone can source the address.
"I had initially taken the decision to move from the parliamentary village in Acacia Park due to threats against my family and me, including intimidation and death threats."
Maimane did not expand on the context of the threats to him and his family, but said he would not allow "such matters" to "distract" him from the DA's "urgent fight to save our democracy".