Western Cape Premier Helen Zille enjoys the presence of ghosts in her official residence Leeuwenhof when her husband takes long trips and, ironically, feels less afraid when the ghouls are present.
According to a report in Die Burger newspaper on Wednesday, this was Zille's reaction when she was asked about the visit of a “ghostbuster” to Leeuwenhof during her term.
Zille's spokesman Zak Mbhele said the visit took place shortly after Zille moved into Leeuwenhof in 2009.
It was for a television series or a magazine that was investigating a story about ghosts living in Leeuwenhof.
The ghostbuster was paid for the work.
Mbhele said the premier's office no longer had the ghostbuster's details, but that he or she was apparently clairvoyant and while walking through the house had stood at certain places and felt a presence.
“Premier Zille has had no unpleasant or shocking visits by ghosts. Only in a few cases did the lights mysteriously go on after they were switched off while she was alone in the house. And there was also the sounds of someone walking in the corridors,” Mbhele said.
“She accepted that in some cases it could just be her imagination, but given the decades-old tradition she's not taking any chances.”
Leeuwenhof's last resident, former premier Lynne Brown said the “aunties” who worked with her at Leeuwenhof had told her with great pleasure about ghosts at the house.
Their tales included one about a young woman who committed suicide after she had baby with someone who did not have her parents' approval.
“If you come up the steps, she will give you the baby if she likes you,” Brown said with a laugh, adding that she had never seen the ghost herself but that at nights when she was alone in the house she would dart up the last few steps to her room.
Leeuwenhof stands on the slopes of Table Mountain in the suburb of Oranjezicht above the Cape Town city centre.
The 17th century estate became the official residence of the Cape Province's administrators.
It was awarded to Guillaum Heems on October 22 1693, when a few small buildings were put up.
According to a Cape Town ghost expert, the judge Sir John Kotze once saw the ghost of a woman in an upstairs passage.
The woman, who was dressed in white, had brown hair and blue eyes.
Sometimes, the ghost was holding a baby, which it showed to those who encountered her.
An older woman was said to haunt the ground floor sitting room. - Sapa