On 19 Jan­u­ary 2015, the Pre­to­ria High Court ordered that own­er­ship of Mr Matthys’ home be restored. Mr Matthys, rep­re­sented by the Legal Resources Cen­tre, had lost his home due to being a vic­tim of the Brus­son Finance scheme. 

The favourable judg­ment fol­lows an appli­ca­tion insti­tuted by Mr Matthys against Brus­son Finance and First National Bank (FNB) for the return of the prop­erty which he lost in the Brus­son scheme. 

A num­ber of peo­ple like Mr Matthys have approached the Legal Resources Cen­tre indi­cat­ing that they have fallen vic­tim to a scheme which attached their homes as secu­rity for loans that they have applied for and received from Brus­son Finance. Brus­son Finance deceived the appli­cants into believ­ing that they were enter­ing a loan agree­ment. In real­ity, the doc­u­ments they signed autho­rised the sale of their fam­ily home to a third party (the Brus­son investors). 

In an ear­lier judg­ment, fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful appli­ca­tion by another of the LRC’s clients, Mr Sathekge, the judge stated the fol­low­ing regard­ing the doc­u­ments that Brus­son Finance used to deceive their vic­tims, “they are drawn in such a way that they cause seri­ous con­fu­sion. In my view, this is not a mis­take but a part of the grand scheme. It is in pur­suance of a well-designed process to deceive and defraud.” 

Fol­low­ing the trans­fer of the prop­erty into the name of the Brus­son Finance investor, Brus­son Finance would approach a bank and, using the name of the Investor (who would have a good credit record), receive a mort­gage over the prop­erty. In Mr Matthys’ case, the bank in ques­tion was FNB

The investor would be respon­si­ble for the mort­gage pay­ments but, if the investor defaulted on these pay­ments, the banks would obtain a judg­ment declar­ing the prop­erty exe­cutable (to be sold in order to pay back the mort­gage). This is what hap­pened to Mr Matthys’ prop­erty in April 2008, after his prop­erty was trans­ferred into an investors name with­out his knowl­edge. 

Brus­son Finance has sub­se­quently been liq­ui­dated, leav­ing the clients of the scheme in a pre­car­i­ous posi­tion: the prop­er­ties are in the investors’ names and the banks are exe­cut­ing against the prop­er­ties while the clients still reside on the prop­er­ties. The clients stand to be evicted from their homes if the sale of the home pro­ceeds. 

In the mat­ter between Mr Matthys and FNB, the bank orig­i­nally opposed the appli­ca­tion to restore own­er­ship to Mr Matthys, but later with­drew its oppo­si­tion, leav­ing the mat­ter unop­posed.  Mr Matthys had paid over and above what he had bor­rowed from Brus­son Finance. FNB remov­ing its oppo­si­tion was an encour­ag­ing move and assisted in allow­ing Mr Matthys to get his home back after years of being in stuck in what Mr Matthys called a “Brus­son night­mare”. 

In the order made on Mon­day, the hon­ourable Judge De Vos also set aside the Brus­son agree­ments and the mort­gage bond in respect of the prop­erty. Mr Matthys and his fam­ily were extremely pleased with the out­come.