It’s handbags at dawn in the Winelands
Estate agents at war over posh Cape properties
South Africa’s most exclusive residential estate – home to many a millionaire and once host to Prince Harry – is embroiled in a standoff with a leading estate agent.
While details of the rift between Val de Vie and Harcourts’ Winelands branch are vague, the parties will start a private arbitration process in July.
Ryk Neethling, Olympic swimming gold medallist and marketing director for the estate, confirmed there are “disputes”.
Neethling said that in 2013 homeowners voted in favour of an accreditation process for estate agencies that wanted to market properties at Val de Vie. A code of conduct was adopted to ensure clients received service of a “high standard”. Fourteen agencies adhere to the code.“Harcourts, on the other hand, has raised various disputes relating to estate procedures and the code of conduct,” said Neethling.
“Due to the fact that these disputes are to be resolved through a private arbitration process, Val de Vie wishes to respect the confidentiality of the arbitration process and is not at liberty to comment on the merits of the disputes between the parties at this juncture.
“As a result of the disputes which have arisen between the parties, Harcourts’ accreditation at Val de Vie Estate has terminated and will not be renewed.”
On its website Harcourts Winelands is still marketing estate homes ranging from plots for over R2-million to a luxury villa for R25-million.One report claimed the dispute involves commission on properties but Eberhard Kruger, the director of the agency, would not comment. During a brief telephone conversation he said Harcourts is still accredited to sell property at Val de Vie.
In September 2017 market research group New World Wealth ranked Val de Vie as the top estate in South Africa. Its report said: “Highlights of the estate include: beautiful vineyards, polo fields, an equestrian centre, a highly rated golf course, natural fynbos scenery, parks, lakes and mountain backdrops. House/apartment prices on the estate range from R3-million to R50-million.”
In 2016 the estate gave away a Ferrari worth R4-million to a new buyer, and Prince Harry attended a polo match there to raise money for his charity, Sentebale.