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Dig deeper into Naspers deal - Motshekga

The ANC chief whip believes the report into the Naspers deal can’t be laid to rest just yet.

The ANC chief whip believes the report into the Naspers land deal can’t be laid to rest yet.

CAPE TOWN - ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga on Wednesday said while he was satisfied that the City of Cape Town's deal with Naspers was above board, the matter could not be laid to rest just yet.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was asked to investigate allegations that the city intended buying land to expand the Cape Town International Convention Centre at price that is more than double the actual market value.

The DA-run municipality was planning to buy a piece of land from Naspers, which independent property analysts had valued at no more than R50 million, for a R106 million, according to Motshekga.

Motshekga asked Madonsela to investigate the issue as he believed it was "suspicious."

In her report released earlier in the day, the public protector found there was no evidence to substantiate claims of improper conduct.

Her spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said, "The public protector has found that the transactions between the City of Cape Town and Naspers Properties were generally above board and generally to the benefit of the public."

But the public protector did find that officials failed to inform the council that the property would be subject to a height restriction and the city did not take charge of negotiations from the onset.

Mathole said those issues in particular need further probing.

"This is not the end of the story because there are findings of maladministration and neglect of duties."

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town described the public protector's findings surrounding its purchase of prime land as justified.

The city intends to use the site as extra space for the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Cape Town Deputy Mayor Ian Nielsen explained what plans they have for the additional land.

"The city already owns the property next door to it. So we will be building an extension to the convention centre that adds a further 10,000 square metre of exhibition space."

However, he believes millions have been lost due to the delay.

"The studies have shown that the existing conference centre produces something close to R2 billion of economic activity for the country, every year. With this expansion, we will be able to increase that quite significantly."

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