Elderly R121m Powerball winner ‘almost had heart attack’
Johannesburg - The grandfather, who became an overnight millionaire after winning the R121 million Powerball jackpot last week, almost had a heart attack when he found out he had won.
The Bloemfontein-based elderly man, who asked to remain anonymous, scooped the R121m jackpot after he arrived at the National Lottery Operator’s Bloemfontein office on Friday to claim his winnings, two days after his numbers were announced.
According to lottery operator Ithuba, the winner bought his ticket at Belvera Supermarket in Bloemspruit, Bloemfontein.
The winner, who is in his 60s, said on Monday: “I bought the tickets the previous day and put them on the table. Early in the morning, I decided to check my tickets and when I did check I nearly had a heart attack.”
He said he was in such disbelief that he checked his ticket about 20 times and even went back to the supermarket where he brought the tickets, before proceeding to the National Lottery office.
The new millionaire said his wife and his three children did not believe him when he told them that he had won the lottery.
“My wife is in Cape Town doing a course so I phoned at 2.20am and she wouldn’t believe me until I took a photo of the ticket and sent her the copy. It’s unreal,” he said.
He added that his children, who are between 25 and 38 years of age, also did not believe him until he sent them proof of his winnings and showed them the money in his bank account.
The winner added that he was not a regular Powerball player, but he played Daily Lotto regularly.
“I have won money in the past but small amounts and the highest was about R50 000, but over the last nine or 10 years I haven’t won very often,” he said.
The winner said he and his wife planned to invest about 95% of his winnings and possibly buy his wife a business for when the couple go into retirement. However, he said he refuses to not work and planned to also do some farming.
“We’ve got the finances now to do the things that we could not do in the past like new vehicles, holidays and there are no worries anymore. Now we can do what we want,” he said.
The winner’s dream holiday location is Malaysia. He told The Star that he was on his way to the Ford dealership to buy his dream vehicle, a Ford Raptor.
He said that his winnings wouldn’t just change his life but also that of his children and grandchildren as he was reaching retirement age. He said he intended to buy each of his children a new home, car and invest the money for them.
“I have three children and two granddaughters, my third granddaughter will be here in three weeks’ time. This is a major life-changing experience. It’s difficult to explain what it would do for you and your children and their children,” he said.