Shauwn Mpisane Sbu Mpisane Tender millionaires

Shauwn Mpisane: How we became millionaires

PRIVATE security guards dressed in black suits keep an eagle eye on the VIP guests entering the posh establishment where Durban tycoons S’bu and Shauwn Mpisane are hosting a party second to none. Their beady eyes are trained on a collection of Mzansi A-listers who have come to celebrate S’bu’s birthday and the renewal of his vows to long-term sweetheart Shauwn.

The couple, dubbed the “mystery millionaires” by the media, have been planning these festivities for two months and judging by the extravagance of both functions, they’ve spared no expense. They’re reluctant to divulge the cost of the events but we have it on good authority that event organisers were given an unlimited budget and some R300 000 was spent on sound equipment alone.This party is the crowning moment for a couple whose spectacular rise to wealth has been dogged by controversy. Back in 2002 S’bu was a traffic cop earning R15 000 a month, while his wife was a marketing executive at an oil refinery. Nine years later the couple have a fleet of luxury cars – including the brand-new Maserati that Shauwn bought S’bu for his 40th birthday – and live in a multimillion-rand mansion in Durban’s upmarket La Lucia.

IN 2008 Sbu Mpisane was the only Durban Metro police constable who arrived at work in a Lamborghini.

It was one of a fleet of supercars parked outside the multimillion-rand mansion he lived in.

When the DA questioned how Mpisane could afford a Lamborghini, two Maseratis, a Rolls Royce and a Ferrari, a R20-million mansion in La Lucia and designer clothes on a gross salary of R15000 a month, his wife Shauwn, the Queen of Bling, appeared.

Shauwn, daughter of former anti- apartheid activist Florence Mkhize, stepped into the limelight in bold designer wear and diamond encrusted jewellery with a entourage of equally lavish friends.

After Mpisane resigned from the metro police, he joined his wife’s business, Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport, which had scored millions of rands in tenders from the municipality and KwaZulu- Natal government.

Their business dealings date as far back as 1997 when they won a provincial housing department tender.

The department later handed the project over to the municipality with the proviso that the couple be retained as contractors.

Since then the Mpisanes have won contracts worth more than R300-million, despite complaints of shoddy workmanship in the construction of low-cost houses in Umlazi, and Shauwn’s VAT-fraud conviction in 2005.

Despite their legal woes, the couple spare no expense on parties and living large.

In March 2011, they spent at least R1-million on two parties – Mpisane’s birthday and their wedding anniversary and vow renewal ceremony – treating 180 guests to pricey champagne, sushi and oysters. The guests included controversial ZAR Lounge owner Kenny Kunene, Durban millionaire Vivian Reddy, socialite Khanyi Mbau and President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma.

FAST LIFE: One of Sbu and Shauwn Mpisane’s cars, under guard at a top KwaZulu-Natal lodge. Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN
The Mpisanes were also guests at axed police commissioner Bheki Cele and Thembeka Ngcobo’s wedding at Lynton Hall on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

Cele referred to Shauwn as his daughter when he sat in court “for moral support” at her fraud trial last year.

At the trial, Shauwn sat on a brand new pillow each day and often played with her huge cocktail rings during proceedings.

Her daring designer outfits featuring feathers, beads and sometimes big buckled belts made her the centre of attention in the courthouse but she refused to be photographed.

On two occasions, when her employees pushed and intimidated photographers in the courtroom, Shauwn watched from afar.

Her husband tried to hide her from flashing cameras and later said that his wife would not mind posing for photographs at another location.

Shauwn frequently allows photographers to capture her extensive designer wear collection, her lavish outing at luxurious hotels and her arrivals at social events in helicopters and supercars.

But the Durban Magistrate’s Court last year heard that the Mpisanes’s millions could run out on legal fees.

Defence advocate Wim Trengove, SC, told the court that if the state continued to request postponements, Shauwn would be financially prejudiced .

The gallery, made up of Shauwn’s employees, nodded, with one elderly woman whispering to another: “She will become poor.”


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