by Pierre Le Roux
Having celebrated another birthday, apart from the lovely gifts and well wishes I received I now also am nursing a seasonal cold. I really thought I would escape its snotty grip this year but I wasn’t that lucky. Having spent some quality time with my pillow and tissues I had plenty of time to reflect. The past year has been a trying one filled with turmoil that tested me on every level. I had been part of a high profile court case that came to an end on Friday after a marathon trial of 9 months. The sale of our apartment finally came through at long last. The agency hubby and I are suing were served with papers last week and my ties with my previous employer is soon to be ended and my appointment at my new employer is to be made official. It feels like an end to a chapter, a chapter I’d remember for a long time, and the start of a new beginning.
Last year July I was requested to get involved in a high profile court case that would grip the imagination of the South African public. Not being one to shy away from an opportunity to learn and grow professionally I accepted the challenge and got stuck in. The court case read like a crime thriller that included Spy Bosses, Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering, Murder and Blackmail. The intrigue was supplemented with Drugs, Lies and a Videotape with shocking revelations and betrayals. During this time my life was taken over by the beast that was this court case. Working 16 hour days, having my face plastered in a few newspapers and news bulletins, I was sometimes accompanied by unsavory characters. This caused my sister to ring me up the one evening very concerned that she was seeing me on the news with a Mafia Boss and was worried that the public would assume I was one of his cronies. She made me laugh as the thought of me looking like a Mafia Boss’s bodyguard was a hilarious prospect.
Finally on Friday the verdict was delivered – guilty. Years of hard work by the investigative team finally paid off, restoring the public’s faith in the South African Judiciary. The court case was fascinating, and I count myself lucky to having been part of it. Some themes of this dramatic case are sure to make it into a novel I plan on writing one day. Sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction as this case proved. Sentencing procedures is due to start in just over a week, and then the fat lady will have sung closing what was a stressful, exciting and remarkable chapter.
When we bought our new home, we took a leap of faith. Our old apartment was not yet sold and we faced the prospect of having to pay two bonds. A daunting prospect, to say the least, as we could not really afford both. So after much deliberation hubby and I decided to rent the apartment out in the interim. This is when we encountered The Lies that People Tell. It was a particularly busy time in my life, having just finished up my involvement in the big court case, having just moved into our new house and started with phase I of the renovations and in the midst of changing careers. So at that stage neither hubby nor I had much tolerance for drama or additional stress. Yet the bitch that is drama found us!
You see we fell victim to an unscrupulous real estate agency which not only deceived us but also defrauded us. We had tenants in our apartment for less than a month before they vacated our property after wrecking it. All of this I learned through a Facebook message alerting me to the fact that the tenants were moving out without our knowledge and/or consent therefor breaching our lease agreement. What followed was a gargantuan argument with the real estate agency resulting in us seeking legal advice. Now 5 months later it’s official they are being sued. During the last 5 months we also kept paying 2 bonds, and our finances were more than tight – it was anorexic! Roughly six weeks ago we were thrown a life line when we finally found buyers. It was a tremendous relieve and could not have come at a better time. Contracts were signed and sealed and on my birthday (thank you fairy godmother) the sale went through. Having the apartment sold solves our two bonds issue but the law suit still needs to be resolved. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will not lead to yet another dramatic day in court! I am hoping for an out of court settlement – something civilized, something without too much skirmishing.
In the mean time I have changed employers reminding me of the article I wrote We May be Fruits but we are no Fucking Peaches. Now 3 months later I have settled in quite nicely but still have to finalize my permanent contract there. People at my new job are still exceptionally friendly, which still freaks me out every now and again, but I have come to learn they are not on drugs and it isn’t an episode of the Twilight Zone. They are genuinely nice people and I enjoy their company and am looking forward to a long and prosperous career there.
So I come to the end of this chapter. Last week I had to say farewell to an apartment I loved and lived in for 9 years. I trust that the new owners will be as happy there as we were. I will not allow the fowl taste of our present law suit to stain my memories of the 9 happy years we spent there. The marathon court case has also ended and justice may not have been swift but it was served. I will look back on this experience knowing that, for a brief period of time, I was part of legal history and that makes me proud. As this chapter ends and another starts I am looking forward to new experiences, new friends and new adventures.
Till next time.