It's party time for high-rolling former cop and his wife, who coined it with questionable government contracts
Mar 20, 2011
A couple who made millions from building low-cost government houses - with some of the projects now under investigation - are splashing out R1-million to renew their wedding vows.
Durban's Sibusiso Mpisane and his wife, Shawn, who over the years have been investigated by the disbanded Scorpions and the Special Investigating Unit, this week revealed that money was no object for their five-day bash to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary and 20 years of being together.
Sibusiso will also celebrate his 40th birthday at the party.
The couple plan to light fireworks on Wednesday in Lamontville, a township south of Durban. This will be followed by traditional ceremonies at their R15-million mansion in La Lucia, in the northern suburbs.
The main party will be attended by a host of celebrities and politicians and will be held at the five-star Fairmont Hotel & Resort in Zimbali next Sunday.
The various traditional cere-monies will include "slaughtering of cows and goats".
On Thursday, Sibusiso, who was a policeman until recently, said he could not "divulge the amount" they were spending. However, conservative calculations and people close to the couple estimated the bill at a minimum of R1-million.
Sibusiso said: "Planning (the event) has taken three months ... and different companies are involved in implementing it."
The entertainment on Sunday will include Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Kora award winner Thandiswa and SA Music Award winner Judith Sepuma.
The more than 200 guests will also be entertained by Stimela, the Jazel Brothers and DJs Muntu and Happygal.
Other details of the "Egyptian royalty-theme party" at the Fairmont Hotel are a closely guarded secret.
Even the menu is under wraps. "It's the element of surprise," said Sibusiso.
But the couple were prepared to reveal they would be wearing Egyptian-style outfits identical to those worn by pharaohs. "We are a couple who like class," he said.
Four years ago, shortly after spending R12-million on their three-storey La Lucia mansion, the Mpisanes bought an adjoining property for R3.5-million.
They flattened the house on the property and built a garage for their luxury cars, which include an Aston Martin, a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, a Porsche Turbo, a Maserati Pininfarina and a BMW 750i.
In March last year, the SA Revenue Service attached the couple's Rolls-Royce Phantom convertible, valued at around R7-million, and two Lamborghinis - one worth R4.5-million and the other R5-million.
Through their businesses, the couple allegedly owed about R50-million in back-taxes, but the matter was later settled and the cars were returned.
SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said: "The Income Tax Act places a specific obligation on SARS to treat the affairs of all taxpayers confidentially."
Sibusiso could not be reached for comment on this matter.
Once labelled a "fugitive state witness", he has also been the subject of a preliminary probe by the now defunct Scorpions after disappearing for a year and failing to testify in a murder case against a notorious taxi boss, Mandla Gcaba, and his brother.
About 13 years ago, the former constable with the eThekwini Metro Police Dog Unit was a key state witness in the case against the wealthy Gcaba brothers, who were allegedly responsible for a shooting outside the High Court in Durban. Three people had died and six had been wounded by the time the guns fell silent.
With no other evidence linking the Gcabas to the shooting, Sibusiso's disappearance ahead of their trial virtually secured their acquittal.
Another investigation into Sibusiso's lifestyle was launched three years ago after the Democratic Alliance demanded a probe into how a constable, who earned R15000 a month, could afford to own a Lamborghini, which he often drove to work, and the La Lucia mansion.
"I do a lot of things other than being a policeman," Sibusiso said at the time.
He recently said: "Some people were shocked that I drove a Lamborghini while I was a policeman. They thought because I'm black, I must have made my bucks illegally."
Sibusiso resigned from the police after the furore and joined his wife, who owns Zikhulise Cleaning, Maintenance and Transport. The company had by then secured millions of rands' worth of tenders from the eThekwini municipality and the KwaZulu-Natal government.
Recently, Sibusiso was the chief lobola negotiator for police commissioner General Bheki Cele.
The police chief and President Jacob Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse, attended the Mpisanes' New Year's Eve party in 2009.
This week, Sibusiso said he had a secret gift "which will be unveiled on the day" for his wife, who is the daughter of the late Florence Mkhize, a former eThekwini councillor.
How did a cop in the Durban Metro Police come to be lord of a R17-million manor?
The identity of the person living at 88 Addison Drive, La Lucia (a spectacular resort made famous by the Oppenheimers many decades ago as a seaside destination for the rich and famous) has in recent months been the subject of intense speculation amongst the locals: is he/she a rock star? A rap artist? Arms dealer? Oil baron? It had to be someone flash who took up residence in the mansion bought last year – at auction – for R17m. It has since been extensively renovated.