DURBAN – Durban power couple S’bu and Shauwn Mpisane, known for their lavish lifestyle and lucrative multi-million rand state construction tenders, are getting divorced, court records show.
The matter is expected to appear in the motion court before Judge Rashid Vahed of the Durban High Court on Wednesday as item 32.
It is unclear whether they will appear in court in person.
Rumours of the split first started circulating in September 2018 when Sunday newspaper City Press reported that the couple was no longer living together.
It is unclear what has triggered the divorce, but it is widely known that the couple has massive financial problems after Sars seized both their personal assets and those of their various companies, under the banner of Zikhulise Group, in November 2016. SARS claimed at the time that they owed the receiver “in excess of R204-million”.
Court-appointed co-curator Pieter Strydom told African News Agency on Monday night that the liquidation of the Mpisane assets, including those of their companies, was still in progress.
“It is ongoing. I don’t believe [Shauwn] can repay [what she owes] and I doubt she will [legally] survive the process. The quicker they sequestrate her, the better for everyone,” Strydom said.
He said, however, that appeals against SARS were ongoing and applications had been made for business rescue.
Shauwn was the sole director of almost all of their companies, most notably Zikhulise Cleaning Maintenance & Transport cc, which was often the beneficiary of massive state contracts and the couple’s main vehicle for business interests.
Strydom said it was likely that any assets from the liquidation process would be sold on auction.
The couple is married in community of property.
Among the assets seized by SARS under the Tax Administration Act in 2016 were several luxury cars such as an Aston Martin Rapide, a Dodge Ram, several BMWs, various properties including their La Lucia mansion in Durban North and a 54-hectare farm in the KZN Midlands.
It is understood that this tax dispute is partially a result of the couple not honouring a 2014 tax debt agreement with SARS. That agreement was signed just months after Shauwn escaped prosecution for 183 charges of tax fraud, forgery and bribery allegedly committed between 2008 and 2012.
The criminal matter was dropped in January 2014 by then National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana, over allegations of “prosecutorial misconduct” by state prosecutor, advocate Meera Naidu.
Two years later, Naidu, supported by the Public Servants Union, was cleared by a disciplinary hearing chaired by advocate Justice Mnisi. Mnisi called Naidu’s treatment by the NPA a “travesty of justice” and questioned the NPA’s motives for dropping the Mpisane matter.
ANA contacted both S’bu and Shauwn for comment on Monday night. S’bu asked ANA to message through the query but declined to comment, while a woman claiming to be Shauwn’s personal assistant answered Shauwn’s phone and said she would relay the query.
No response was forthcoming.