Saturday, May 14, 2011

Zindzi Trashed My House

Oct 3, 2009

Zindzi Mandela has been accused of trashing an upmarket rented house before walking off with some of her landlady's expensive furniture.

Businesswoman Michelle Cathrall was at first "honoured" to let her furnished Saxonwold, Johannesburg, home to Mandela, but when her non-paying tenant finally left - after a court battle to evict her - the place "looked like a tsunami" had hit it, she said.

"You can't believe the damage," Cathrall told the Sunday Times this week.

Cathrall, who has roped in an inspection company to assess the damage for a lawsuit she said she intended to bring against Mandela, said an initial estimate of the damage was R386000.

She said her antique furniture had been ruined by water and heat damage; paint had been scraped off the walls; sandblasted floor tiles had been scratched beyond repair and expensive blinds had been removed and thrown on a pile of rotting garbage - with her DStv reception dish and the downpipe of one of the gutters.

The broken gutter had also caused a major damp problem.

A leaking kitchen pipe had been haphazardly "repaired" with cling wrap, resulting in the wooden shelf below it rotting and collapsing.

Cathrall accused Mandela of taking a bed, two desks, a tumble-dryer, a lounger and an antique cabinet, as well as sheets, towels and other linen belonging to her.

She said the linen, couches and mattresses left behind were filthy and badly stained.
Her battle with Mandela started last year, when Cathrall went to court to evict her famous tenant due to rent arrears amounting to R70000.

Mandela's attorney, Bally Chuene, denied Cathrall's current allegations against his client.

He said Mandela had not taken the items and had caused no damage - claiming it was all pre-existing.

"These are the same issues raised before ... (Cathrall) is talking rubbish," Chuene said.

Cathrall said she was still battling to get R42000 Mandela owed her for legal costs relating to the eviction order she obtained last year.

Although the High Court in Johannesburg awarded Cathrall costs in that action, she has since paid the amount to her attorneys out of her own pocket and Mandela has not coughed up.

Even a writ of execution against Mandela's property proved fruitless, after the sheriff attempted to attach Mandela's assets only to find her Houghton home "vacant".

However, Chuene said a deposit equivalent to two months' rental - which Mandela had paid before moving in - was sufficient to cover the legal costs.

Cathrall said she had spent 18 months renovating the house before Mandela moved in.

"It was in pristine condition when they took occupancy.

"It was looking so beautiful," she said.

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