Xolani Mbanjwa
Roux Shabangu, the billionaire property developer at the centre of the R1.7bn leases saga that led to Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde being fired and police commissioner Gen Bheki Cele suspended, believes that he has been treated unfairly.Shabangu, who has been hogging the headlines since he clinched the controversial lease contract from the Department of Public Works that have since been deemed “unlawful” by public protector Thuli Madonsela, is unhappy about the findings.He made this clear in an interview during which his wife, Percy, a law student, sat alongside him at his plush offices in Irene, Pretoria. Shabangu only has a matric.Shabangu bitterly complains how being black has unfairly thrust him into the spotlight and accuses white property developers – and his former business partner – of working with the media to tarnish his name.

His business portfolio boasts a string of shopping centres, mines in South Africa and Swaziland, properties, boats and vehicles. Shabangu scoffed at allegations that he clinched the lucrative lease contract for the new police headquarters in Pretoria only because of his political and business connections.

“People think I’ve got money because Zuma is the president. It’s rubbish. Why didn’t I need Thabo Mbeki when I was building Jabulani Mall (in Soweto) and other developments?

“Why would I rely on connections now? I’ve always had connections. I don’t have unique ones now. I know the same people I knew back then,” said the 37-year-old father of four.

The former amateur boxer said the success he’s achieved “especially at my age should be celebrated, but you can see that some people are aggrieved about my business”.

“Zuma is 69, I’ve just turned 37,” Shabangu said, introducing a new conversation while sidestepping the question about inflated leases he signed with government.

He confidently declared that his legal team would clear his name and successfully defend Mahlangu-Nkabinde’s bid to get the Sanlam-Middestad building lease nullified by the Pretoria High CourtRead more.