Sun Dec 11 06:08:15 SAST 2016

Going nowhere - Leleti's house saved at the 11th hour

2013-02-04 07:52:12.0 | AMANDA NGUDLE |

INTERNATIONALLY renowned actress Leleti Khumalo's posh Melrose Arch townhouse narrowly escaped the auctioneer's hammer last week.

NO LAUGHING MATTER: Actress Leleti Khumalo has gone through hard financial times.
PRIZED: A late payment saved Leleti Khumalo's Melrose Arch, Joburg property. Picture by Antonio Muchave

This after a late payment was made to save the upmarket property following a lengthy dispute.

Bidders were told just before the beginning of the auction that Khumalo made a payment and the house was taken off the roll of properties that were going to be auctioned on the day.

The modern duplex home is situated on the eastern side of the imposing and sought after Melrose Arch complex. It overlooks the M1 highway, with views of the northern suburbs, including Bramley and Houghton.

Court documents deposed by Nedbank reveal that Khumalo bought the crib in 2005.

She initially took a home loan of R820000 but later took out two more bonds of R110000 and R150000.

Khumalo, who recently married businessman Skhuthazo Winston Khanyile after being previously married to playwright Mbongeni Ngema for 14 years, was absent when the auction vultures were warming up to snatch the cosy property at the Joburg Sheriff's offices in Braamfontein this week.

Nedbank would not divulge the actress's debt, but Sunday World can reveal the house is worth just over R2m and that she was served with a summons to pay an amount of R820000, owed since 2009.

When contacted, a nonchalant Khumalo said she knew nothing about the matter.

"I'm in Durban at the moment and I know nothing about what you are telling me.

"Yes I have a property at that address but I can't comment further as I don't know anything about my house being auctioned."

A source close to Khumalo says the actress, who was once the toast of the town and inspired many young actors, has gone through some hard financial times since leaving Generations two years ago.

"Her last well paying gig was Invictus, which was in 2009 and that's a long time for someone with her discerning lifestyle.

"Also, that movie didn't really generate much interest or revenue locally, even with the addition of big names such as Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

"I think that's why she lowered her standards and acted in Generations as Busi," says the source.

Khumalo has also been in big international movies such asSarafina, Cry The Beloved Country, Hotel Rwanda and Yesterday.

One of the hopeful bidders, who left in a huff as soon as the auction was cancelled, says she had hoped to bag the property.

"I was going to sell it fast because I was going to use her name to lure prospective buyers.

"Property owners like bragging about previous owners' statuses," says Connie Hewitt, one of the disappointed property traders.; or Twitter @amandan777

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