The historic and legacy building, Luthuli House which is the headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC), may soon go on public auction.
According to the Sunday Independent Newspaper report, Chief Albert Luthuli House in the Joburg CBD, could be up for grabs soon after the Johannesburg High Court ordered the sheriff to auction the building.
The order was issued after the ruling party failed to pay a R25-million debt owed to former spooks who were roped in to help with the 2014 provincial election strategy, court documents show.
Sources say an attachment letter will be delivered by the sheriff of the court to Luthuli House on Monday, an action that is set to cause untold embarrassment to the ANC.
The court papers, which The Sunday Independent has seen, show that the ANC is embroiled in a legal battle with Resurgent Risk Managers, a company owned by Manala Manzini.
Manzini was a former National Intelligence Agency boss with Arthur Fraser, who was also a director of the company but resigned last year when he was appointed as State Security Agency director-general.
According to court papers, in October 2013 the ANC, represented by Ignatius Jacobs, entered into a “verbal agreement” with Barry Fraser, Arthur’s brother, who represented Resurgent to provide election support and strategic services to the ANC during the 2014 national elections.
On Friday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the party’s lawyers were dealing with the matter and “we are challenging it”.
However, he questioned why any company would enter into a verbal agreement for R20m.
“Ask them to show you a contract,” Mantashe said.
Luthuli House is a 12-floor building at 54 Sauer Street, Johannesburg. The ANC headquarters are officially located on the 7th floor, while the 6th floor houses the office of the Secretary-General.
President-General of the African National Congress from December 1952 until his death in 1967, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960, Chief Albert John Luthuli was the most widely known and respected African leader of his era.
Luthuli’s home in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, a meeting place for people linked to South Africa’s freedom struggle during the years of Luthuli’s banishment, was proclaimed a museum in August 2004.
The opening marked the completion of the government-driven Albert Luthuli Legacy Project, which included the launch of an annual memorial lecture, and the unveiling of a bronze statue of Luthuli at the KwaDukuza Municipal Chambers, and of a memorial at the Groutville Congregational Church where Luthuli’s grave is located.
The house that is now the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum was under constant police surveillance when Luthuli lived there.
Although Luthuli had been banished to his home by the apartheid government, many people travelled there to seek his counsel – among them United States attorney-general Senator Robert Kennedy, who arrived by helicopter for an unofficial visit in 1966.