Businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane says she would rather spend time in jail if it means it will get her detractors off her back.
Referring to her ongoing court battles, she said: “You can see there is a drive by some people to see me in jail. Maybe I need to be put in a cell, maybe they’ll leave me alone. Maybe they’ll stop doing all these things.”
Among the Mpisane’s fleet of exotic cars taken by the State as part of a Durban High Court preservation order last week were at least two that bear Umhlanga registration plates NUR 1 and NUR 2, cementing the couple’s place as the exclusive suburb’s “first citizens”.
But even now that their garage is almost empty - with just one Maserati, a brand new Range Rover and a BMW sedan - the couple insist they are not down and out.
Their home has a sizeable lounge with marble floors, a huge TV screen, a high-end surround sound system and luxury leather lounge suites.
“People say our things have been taken and we are sitting on benches, but that is not the case,” said Shauwn.
She said that putting on a brave face for the cameras during her numerous court appearances was difficult.
“I’m a jolly, humble person. But people see me laughing and they think everything is fine when I’m actually hurting inside. It’s not good. It’s not good for S’bu either. He’s always been a nice, cheerful person, but all these things are slowly changing him,” she said.
The couple said they shared a passion for exotic cars, which some people may find hard to understand.
“Maybe people’s problems are that we are living a life some only get to live when they are too old. But we are young and this is how we enjoy ourselves,” Shauwn said.
S’bu said: “There are a lot of people who can afford what we have, but instead they hide their money in trust funds and overseas accounts.
“So when they see us driving Rolls-Royces they wish they could too, but they are too afraid to buy them because they’ll have questions to answer.
“But we have nothing to hide. Everything is traceable.”
The couple say they worked hard to set up their business, without relying on state support. Their endeavours included going to pawnbrokers, using cars that S’bu had bought and fixed as collateral for loans. They still use the cars, most of which are unencumbered, to secure loans.
“People are so quick to judge. No one asks how I’ve been able to live a life that some people only get to live when they are too old. But we are young and this is how we enjoy ourselves,” Shauwn said.
Although full of praise for the neighbours who had sent them flowers and messages of support, the Mpisanes were “saddened” that some people, including some neighbours, rejoiced at their tribulations.
Their publicist, Vuyo Mkhize, said there seemed to be pressure from “anti-transformation agents” in the construction industry who were working with their “puppets” within state machinery to humiliate the Mpisanes. - Tribune