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Guptas score in Joburg property valuation roll

According to the latest municipal valuation roll the large 4 207 square metre Saxonwold property's value dropped lower that the price it was sold for in May 1994 – when it was sold for R559 000.

The property, one of four adjacent stands bought by brothers Arti, Atul, Chetali, and Rajesh, was valued at R16.8-million in the 2008 valuation but plummeted to R490 000 in the last valuation, the newspaper reported.

The decrease in the municipal value meant the rates would drop from about R7 844 a month to about R157.90.

According to the Saturday Star this drop went against the tide which saw increases of up to 48% in adjacent neighbourhoods.

The other properties on the land were valued at R7-million, R10.1-million, and R3.79-million. All together, the 13 676 square metre property was valued at R21.38-million.

According to the report this value was a low estimate due to renovations the Gupta's made including a helipad, a swimming pool and a cricket pitch. In a Sunday Times report in 2011 the newspaper valued the entire property at R52-million.

Estate agents who operate in the area called the valuation "laughable" and "outrageous".

Jeanine Fincher of Chas Everitt said no property available in the area for R490 000 and called the low valuation "ridiculous".

Roger Proce of Lew Geffen said the average price in the area was R5.5-million and the average stand was 2 000 square metres.

"You wouldn't find anything for that (R490,000)."

The Gupta family spokesperson Gary Naidoo and the City of Johannesburg did not respond to requests for comment, the Saturday Star reported.

The politically connected Gupta family has been embroiled in a number of controversies, the latest being the events surrounding the wedding of their niece Vega Gupta.

The unauthorised landing at Waterkloof Air Base of a plane carrying wedding guests and the use of state resources such as SAPS VIP protection services.

On Friday the Mail & Guardian reporting that former National Intelligence Agency chief Gibson Njenje lost his job after a battle over the influential Gupta family.

An investigation by intelligence agencies into the "conduct" of the Gupta family not only took place, it was also justified, indeed necessary, the former head of South Africa's domestic spy agency has told the Mail & Guardian, angrily contradicting claims to the contrary made in Parliament by State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

In a rare interview, Gibson Njenje, the former director general of the State Security Agency (previously known as the National Intelligence Agency) criticised Cwele's claim that he had shut down an improper operation, while denying there was any substantive probe of the Gupta ­family. Accusing Cwele of "talking nonsense," Njenje said Cwele "might lose his job" over these claims.

Additional reporting by Charles Molele and Matuma Letsoalo.

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