Mpisane staff spoiled rotten at annual bash

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Copy of NM Mpisane party (38782523)


Durban businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane, left, ditched her glad rags for play clothes when she and her husband, Sbu, right, hosted a lavish staff party on their farm near Pietermaritzburg. Here they enjoy a lighter moment with an unnamed employee. Photo: Provided by the Mpisanes and Sandile Makhoba

Durban - It was an office Christmas party that no employee would want to miss. Controversial Durban power couple S’bu and Shauwn Mpisane spoiled their 3 500 staff rotten at their annual bash on their farm near Pietermaritzburg at the weekend, handing out gifts of plasma TVs, smart phones, home theatre systems and cheques between R2 000 and, wait for it, R25 000.

On Tuesday, S’bu told The Mercury that the event was a chance to give back to the needy and to motivate employees in the different divisions of Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance and Transport.


Although he would not reveal the cost of the party, S’bu said that 500 employees had received high-price-tag items, and that seven top employees who had been with the company for more than 10 years had been given the big cash cheques.

The gifts were to thank them and encourage others to be dedicated, he said.

The couple, whose construction company builds low-cost houses and other buildings, have had a year marred by controversy and endless court appearances on tax and fraud charges.


The Mercury reported last month that Zikhulise had received about R229 million, paid in four months, from the eThekwini Municipality between June and September, raising the ire of opposition parties.

It also received R1.2m from the KwaDukuza Municipality for housing over the same period.

In a report tabled at the city’s finance and procurement committee meeting earlier this year, the Mpisanes’ company was listed as one of the top 15 suppliers to the municipality, having secured contracts worth R445m in the 2012/13 financial year.

One source who was privy to the glittering Christmas party at the weekend said that the employees had been “blown out of the water” at being treated “like royalty”.

“We had been under the impression that there would just be speeches, food and drinks and that would be it. But Shauwn then pulled an Oprah on us,” the insider said, referring Oprah Winfrey, the American talk show host renowned for showering her audience with expensive gifts.

“What made it more special was that it wasn’t the office staff who were being rewarded, but the workers on the ground.”

The workers had been bused in from the various Zikhulise sites, the source added.

The couple, who have a reputation for living an opulent lifestyle, often host lavish parties at their La Lucia mansion and have a garage full of supercars.

The venue for the party was dominated by a “super-sized” marquee, with banners listing the names “of each and every” employee, from bricklayers to office staff.


The workers mingled with TV personalities, including Generations actors Bawinile Modise, who plays Khethiwe, Melusi Yeni (Phenyo) and Xoli Zondi (Zodwa), SABC weather reporter Andile Masuku and choreographer Somizi Mhlongo.

S’bu said that Modise and Masuku had been their friends since 2010. The motive behind inviting the personalities was to make “our employees feel special yet bring life into the souls of needy”, he said.

The Mercury

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