Peet Viljoen is a former South African attorney who was disbarred in September 2011. He is said to have amassed a multi-million rand net worth.
As a teenager, Peet was resolute in his decision to practice law. Hence, he moved on to study law at the university and was admitted as an attorney in 1995. He made millions while practicing law as he represented elite people in the country.
Viljoen’s legal career, however, came to a halt when the Law Society of the Northern Provinces recommended that his name be struck off the roll following complaints by the public.
Peet Viljoen Practiced Law for Almost Two Decades
Peet Viljoen’s passion for the law and justice saw him enroll at the University of Pretoria for a B.Proc. He graduated from the university in 1994, and after completing his articles, he was admitted as an attorney the next year. Having put his heart and soul into being a lawyer, Peet grew his practice over time and became popularly known as a celebrity lawyer.
He represented many public figures in the country, including singer Steve Hofmeyr, Springbok rugby players James Dalton and Joost van der Westhuizen, as well as his former business associate, Visser du Plessis. Though he was driven by his passion for law, part of his success was motivated by his determination to prove to his family that he could be the first one in the family to successfully graduate and pursue a professional career.
For almost twenty years of practicing law, Viljoen gained a reputation as one of the best lawyers in Pretoria. Even though his legal career ended in 2011, the chief executive of Tammy Taylor Nails SA still describes himself as South Africa’s first law broker. Presently, he offers his services as a person who assists individuals in need of a lawyer or legal advice.
Peet Viljoen’s Net Worth
Peet Viljoen reportedly sits on a multi-million rand net worth. Though his total wealth is yet to be made public, the businessman once confirmed his wealth status when he disclosed that he accumulated millions of rands from his legal career. Having mainly worked as a legal representative of big names in the country, it’s no surprise that Viljoen made his first million as an attorney.
In recent years, he has been in the spotlight following the participation of he and his wife, Mel, on the reality TV series, The Real Housewives van Pretoria. Also, he has been making giant waves in the beauty and cosmetics industry, and below are more details about his business activities.
Peet Viljoen’s Executive Role in Tammy Taylor Nails SA
Peet Viljoen serves as the chief executive officer of Tammy Taylor Nails SA, which is owned and founded by his wife, Melany Viljoen. Peet, alongside his better half, first acquired ownership and distributorship right from the American company Tammy Taylor Nails Inc., though the license has been terminated now.
The two have since grown the business into a leading beauty salon in South Africa with over 50 franchises in the country. They have amassed millions of rands from their franchising deals. Not only are they known for selling unique nail products and tools, but also organize nail technician training, teaching people procedures that helped to shape the SA nail industry.
The renowned brand owns a nail academy in Pretoria and charges for their classes. Additionally, Tammy Taylor Nails SA offers services like massaging and facial grooming. The power couple further augments their wealth by manufacturing uniforms, clothing items, and masks for the beauty industry.
Manufacturing of Face Masks and Sanitizers
In addition to playing an executive role in Tammy Taylor Nails SA, Peet Viljoen has continued to add to his net worth through other business activities. In 2020, during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, he took to mass production of face masks and sanitizers made available to the public for purchase.
He also donated large quantities of facial masks and sanitizers to some deserving members of society, which included healthcare workers, the elderly, children’s homes, army personnel, police personnel, security guards, and retail workers. The masks are washable, water-resistant, and tear-resistant, whereas the sanitizers consist of 70 percent alcohol.
Why was Peet Viljoen Disbarred?
Peet Viljoen was said to have a ‘Mafia-like’ conduct in the application submitted to the court in 2011 by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces. The conclusion was made from the complaints lodged against him by his former clients, including James Dalton, Visser du Plessis, and Steve Hofmeyr, to the law society.
The Law Society of the Northern Provinces investigated Peet’s conduct after the complaints were laid and recommended to the court that he should be barred from practicing law in the country. The celebrity lawyer’s career came to an end in September 2011 when two Pretoria High Court judges disbarred him and said that the decision was in the interest of the law profession and the public as well.
Also, Peet Viljoen’s involvement in the fraudulent sales of Johannesburg metro lands contributed to his name getting struck off the roll. He made the news headlines when he was arrested by the Hawks in August 2010 and spent seven nights in jail before getting released on bail. Even though he was confident that he would save his legal career by turning to appeal court, his efforts were futile.
Over 300 Charges are Allegedly Leveled Against Peet Viljoen
On November 14th, 2022, Viljoen reportedly appeared in court for fraud charges. He was said to be facing a total of 347 charges, of which 297 are related to fraud and forgery. He was arrested in August 2010 for allegedly defrauding the Johannesburg City Council of over R100 million in fraudulent sales of 27 metro properties.
He was released on bail of R50,000 and then faced charges of racketeering and 29 of fraud at the time. Following deeper investigations into the deal, more charges were leveled against the former attorney. The illicit deal got initiated after a syndicate identified several properties of the Johannesburg City Council’s JPC. Peet Viljoen, along with fellow lawyer Edwin Risimate Maringa created fraudulent documents that the properties have been sold to a company owned by Maringa.
The fake company, Eildoug Investments, was reportedly not registered with the South African Revenue Services. And through the company, Viljoen and five other accomplices finalized the sales of 27 Johannesburg metro properties to potential buyers through fraudulent transfers. To pull through the business, Peet Viljoen worked with Edmunda Mkhetwa Sibisi, who was a deputy registrar in the deeds office of the Department of Land Affairs.
Dorah Madisha, a former employee of the Johannesburg metro, was also an accomplice. Three others that pleaded guilty to the charges were handed a five-year jail term. The money for the properties was allegedly paid into Peet Viljoen’s legal firm’s trust account, and more than R25 million remained in the account after settling those he worked with.
Viljoen acted as a conveyancer attorney in order not to be implicated in the deal. Since 2010, the case has been ongoing and had encountered delays due to the accused who hired and fired lawyers whenever a trial was fixed and thus gets the case postponed. Peet Viljoen was reported to make an appearance at the Pretoria Commercial Crime Court in January 2023 and is still on trial at present.
Peet Viljoens’ Response Regarding the Charges
The businessman has vehemently denied that he was part of the fraudulent deal. He claimed to have worked as the correspondent transfer attorney and wasn’t aware of the values of the properties. He also asserted that he was the whistleblower and reported the property deals to authorities when he suspected that something was wrong with the business.
Viljoen added that for exposing the illicit business, his co-accused, investigating officer, the magistrate, and the prosecutor have conspired against him as some corrupt people control the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). He also stated that the court proceeding so far has been irregular. And that he has not been able to enforce his constitutional rights because the state is yet to provide him with the falsified documents.