Business Insider Edition

The massive 'Vaal Castle' is no longer for sale – here's what we know

Business Insider SA
 Sep 17, 2020, 11:20 AM
Absa has put the massive 'Vaal Castle' on the market. (The High Street Auction Co)
  • A massive mansion near Vereeniging - the so-called Vaal Castle - is no longer for sale.
  • Absa initially put the house on the market to recover money owed on business loans, which were extended to one of its former executives.
  • The house spans 6,240m² and includes an indoor swimming pool, seven bedroom suites, a gym and conference rooms.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A massive house on the banks of the Vaal River is no longer on the market.

Last month, Business Insider reported that Absa had instructed The High Street Auction Company to sell the property, which is owned by the family trust of the 45-year old Kennedy Bungane, a former Absa executive. 

On Thursday the auction house confirmed it had received an instruction from the bank to withdraw the property from the market. An Absa spokesperson did not want to comment due to “banker/client confidentiality”.

For his part, Bungane said in a statement that Absa had obtained a power of attorney over the property “as part of a security package in which business loans are being restructured”. 

“Any business owner, especially of emerging businesses in SA, can understand how tough economic conditions have affected businesses over the past two years, and following the Covid-19 lockdown regulations,” Bungane said.

He said Absa has agreed to new terms to restructure the business loans owed. “It should be emphasised that the new terms do not include the sale of the family property."

A former Standard Bank exec, Bungane joined Absa in 2012 as head of Barclays Africa Regional Management and head of Strategy. In 2014 he resigned to join Phembani, the investment house which bought President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stake in the Shanduka Group. Bungane left Phembani last year, and is now chairman of the fund manager Idwala Capital.

Bungane says his family acquired the land for the Vaal River property, close to Vereeniging, 12 years ago.

“Over 10 years, we slowly built my grandfather’s dream for a modern Bungane homestead ... we wanted to create a private space where the Bungane family could congregate in one place for family gathering, ceremonies and other fellowships. This mini estate would be ‘umuzi nekhaya loGagase’ (House of Gagase), which would hopefully pass from generation to generation in our family,” Bungane said in a statement.

The house spans 6,240m² and includes an indoor swimming pool, seven bedroom suites, a gym and conference rooms.

The property also has a 9-hole golf course.

As well as a large amphitheatre.

(The High Street Auction Co)

There is also big boma fire pit.

It comes with a boat house at the river and its own dam.

(The High Street Auction Co)

The house itself has three floors, a staff annex, eight bedroom suites, a "music room" and  "strong rooms" (vaulted safe rooms in case of attack). 

(The High Street Auction Co)

The entry hall features a crest.

(The High St Auction Co)

There's a massive central atrium.

(The High Street Auction Co)

According to the listing, the house comes with "regal" fixtures and fittings.

(The High St Auction Co)

The rooms have views of the Vaal River.

(The High Street Auction Co)

It offers five living rooms.

(The High Street Auction Co)

There's an outdoor pool...

(The High Street Auction Co)

...a heated indoor pool...

(The High St Auction Co)

...a steam room...

(The High St Auction Co)

...and a gym.

(The High St Auction Co)

The house has a massive dining hall (with chairs embroidered with a "B", presumably for Bungane)

(The High St Auction Co)

The French-inspired kitchen has a scullery plus "walk-in cold room".

(The High Street Auction Co)

The main suite has its own kitchen, lounge and dining area. 

(The High St Auction Co)

There's an elevator connecting the floors.

(The High St Auction Co)

The massive basement has four entertainment or conference venues, as well as "the structural framework for a generously proportioned home cinema".

(The High Street Auction Co)

According to the agent, the house can be used as "multi-generational family villa, corporate retreat or exclusive conference venue". 

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