Johannesburg - The winner of the biggest PowerBall jackpot - R145 million - said on Tuesday that he was still in shock and disbelief following the multi-million rand windfall that has turned his life upside down.
The winner of the biggest ever Powerball spent a mere R20 on their ticket bought at Evander Dienstasie, 1 Rotter Dam Road, Evander, in Mpumalanga on Friday. The winning numbers were 1, 15, 23, 24, 35 and Powerball 4.
Speaking after claiming his prize money at Ithuba Holdings offices in Johannesburg, the 34-year-old engineer from Ekurhuleni said that he was a long-time lottery player and always knew that one day he would win the jackpot as he kept on playing the same numbers even though he had never won any substantial amount.
The winner said he plans to invest his winnings in business investments and helping to uplift members of his family to earn an income through their own initiatives.
"I played the numbers on Tuesday for R5 when the jackpot was R125 million and no one won it. On Friday I was chilling with friends but I couldn't help the feeling that I needed to go play PowerBall. So I went there just before 8 pm and played the same numbers because something was telling me that, hey, these are the numbers. I even prayed just before I paid for the ticket. I only checked my ticket on my phone around 2 pm on Saturday and when I realised that only one person won the jackpot, I couldn't believe that I had won. I immediately told my wife who was busy cleaning the house," he said with a smile.
"What I'm planning now is to look for investment opportunities in my work environment in Mpumalanga because there are many opportunities I've seen but I had no capital. Even if I want to continue working it would be impossible because my mind is not there, my focus has to shift, not that I'm excited or I don't want to work."
The visibly-shocked winner, who works in Mpumalanga, said he had been playing the lottery since he was in high school and had believed some of his dreams were revealing the winning numbers but had significantly reduced the amounts of his bets, only betting when the jackpot was high.
The winner's 30-year-old wife, who works in marketing, acknowledged that the excitement of winning the prize money came with its own stresses, but said they have been together for very long and their outlook in life and dreams were in tune.
She said there had been ups and downs in their relationship but that her husband had always believed that one day will be their lucky day. The couple has been together for 16 years and has no children.
"I'm still going to work until we figure something out. For us to keep this under wraps we are still going to work. My guy and I are like this (fingers together) and everything he's spoken about are our plans. Our biggest plans before the money are still are plans after the money," she said.
Ithuba public relations manager Naledi Masopha said the winner will be put through a financial advisory and counselling programme
"What we do is that we start with the verification process to make sure it's the winning ticket and also verify the winner. Then we move to the appointment of financial advisors and psychological councillors while the claim is being processed. But before the end of the week, the winner will have all his R145 million in his bank account, tax-free," Masopha said.
Ithuba chief executive Charmaine Mabuza said she was happy that the winner was a young and grounded person, adding that winning the jackpot was a reality which only needed one to play.
"People need to go out and play because if they are not in the game they can never win. This is not a myth, this is a reality. The winner needs to internalise it. Enjoy it and look after it," she told the winner.
African News Agency/ANA