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n the face of it, Vin­cent Bhengu looks like he has it made.

The suave, well-dressed, 33-year-old char­tered ac­coun­tant has his own thriv­ing busi­ness, drives a dou­ble-cab bakkie and lives in a town­house com­plex in Krugers­dorp, west of Joburg.

But he also has an ex­tended fam­ily of five sib­lings, and 16 nieces and neph­ews who he has to help sup­port – and he can­not af­ford to marry the love of his life. Bhengu, from Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, says he has been pay­ing truck­loads of Black Tax since 2011, the year af­ter he com­pleted his ar­ti­cles at au­dit­ing firm Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers.

He has also been forced to job-hop, not only be­cause he “al­ways wanted to be my own boss”, he just needed to earn more. “I was un­happy with my salary. It wasn’t enough to look af­ter my fam­ily.” Af­ter two years of this, he started his own firm, Vigil Char­tered Ac­coun­tants. Although Bhengu would not re­veal what he earns each month, he in­sists it’s not a for­tune. But at least he can pro­vide for his fam­ily. The youngest of six chil­dren, Bhengu is the only one who has a pro­fes­sional qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Adding to his list of fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are the fees he pays at a pri­vate nurs­ing col­lege where his part­ner, the mother of his two daugh­ters aged three and one, is study­ing. Also on the list are his re­pay­ments to the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme, which funded his stud­ies. He helped his broth­ers, both se­cu­rity guards, get a leg up on the job lad­der. “I gave one of them money for driv­ing lessons.”

To­day he has a driv­ing li­cence and works for an alarm re­sponse com­pany, so he’s earn­ing a de­cent salary. He sends R6 000 home to Nkandla ev­ery month to help sup­port his 16 nieces and neph­ews be­cause three of his sib­lings are un­em­ployed.

“I buy my nieces and neph­ews school uni­forms and text­books, and send gro­cery money ev­ery month,” he says. “This ex­pense comes monthly. And there are things you can’t bud­get for.” Tak­ing care of his large fam­ily af­fects how much he can save. “I still be­lieve that as a qual­i­fied CA, I’m not sav­ing as much I’m sup­posed to,” he says, adding that his obli­ga­tions have a huge im­pact on his lifestyle.

“I have never been to Cape Town in my life. I can’t even af­ford to have a hol­i­day in the Drak­ens­berg, that’s how bad it is,” he says.

He also wants to marry his part­ner, but can’t af­ford the wed­ding.

“It’s ev­ery­one’s dream to get mar­ried, but un­for­tu­nately a wed­ding doesn’t come cheap.” It’s rough, but it’s re­ward­ing. “Noth­ing ful­fils me more than mak­ing some­one’s dream come true,” he says. “Even if I die poor, I will be happy as long as I make the dream come true for ev­ery­one who is close to me.”

Money sent home: R6 000 Bond re­pay­ments: R5 500 Prop­erty levies: R1 500 Car pay­ment: R4 000 Car in­sur­ance: R1 500

Petrol: R5 000 Stu­dent loan: R600

Sav­ings: R1 500

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