A prominent KwaZulu-Natal school received a default judgment in July against Zuma, 77, and his fourth wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli, 45, because the couple was in arrears with R12 517 in school fees.
Reona Ramnarain of Bentley lawyers last week on behalf of the school confirms the bill is still not paid.
She did not want to say whether further steps would be taken against the couple.
The school obtained the sentence after the Zumas did not indicate in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court whether they would oppose the claim. They also owe R1 412 in legal fees. According to court documents, the debt of the 2018 school year dates.
Zuma, who openly says he has no money to pay his legal fees in multiple concurrent court cases, has already claimed to have sold some of his smart clothes to raise money.
He usually lends to settle other debts: Zuma borrowed a total of R7.8m from VBS in September 2016 so that he could repay the Reserve Bank for the generous improvements to his Nkandla home. The Constitutional Court ordered the repayment to the Reserve Bank.
But by September this year he was already in arrears with R550 000 in his monthly payments to pay off the mortgage loan at VBS.
VBS and Anoosh Rooplal, the bank’s liquidator, recently sued Zuma for the repayment of the balance of R7.3m. They ask the court that if Zuma cannot pay, they may seize Nkandla.
They now seem to be sitting with baked pears, because Zuma rents the farm Nxamalala, on which he built Nkandla, to the Ingonyama trust, of which King Goodwill Zwelithini is the sole trustee and does not own the land.
Under the contract between Zuma and the trust, which was registered with the deeds office in 2017, he only pays R667 rent per month for the farm of 8.7 ha. The lease expires on January 31, 2051, can be extended and registered precisely so that Zuma could take out the mortgage loan at VBS.
If the bank calls the mortgage, the bank has the right to use the land with improvements for the remaining lease period.
In Zuma’s mortgage loan agreement with VBS, all its obligations in the lease are ceded to the bank, which includes the rent.
Wilhelm Botes, property rights expert at law firm JW Botes Incorporated in Pretoria, says: “It’s crazy to think that this lease could ever serve as security for the amount borrowed.” VBS will not be able to seize Nkandla, but on Zuma’s movable assets if they get judgment against him.
The lease says Zuma may not assign or cede the lease to another party or sublet the premises without the trust’s consent. Botes says if this permission exists, VBS will be able to use the contract at most by becoming the new tenant. VBS will then be able to decide who may stay on the premises.
Leander Opperman, insolvency law specialist at the law firm Adams & Adams in Pretoria, says the lease is not really security for the loan.
The only security VBS actually had would be the return of a short-term insurance policy. The lease says Zuma has to take out an insurance policy for all improvements on the ground and can provide proof that he is paying the premiums.
Opperman says, however, the policy only covers potential damage to improvements. “Unless damage is done to the improvements, there is no way that VBS could collect any money if Mr. Zuma does not repay the bond. “