LIV­ING LARGE ON DECK

De­spite a weak rand and a frag­ile econ­omy, some peo­ple’s wal­lets are still burst­ing with cash – and they’re spend­ing their mil­lions on lux­ury yachts

CityPress - - Front Page - BIÉNNE HUIS­MAN bi­enne.huis­man@city­press.co.za

The mer­cury soared as Khu­phuk­ile Dube and his wife, Sonto, re­clined on board a lux­ury Fair­line Targa 48 yacht called C’est la Vie, which bobbed on the icy waves just off Cape Town’s Clifton beach. Dube, the owner of the award-win­ning Dube Brah­man stud farm about 50km from Polok­wane, will turn 41 in April – and he is con­sid­er­ing buy­ing him­self a new sea­far­ing toy to cel­e­brate.

Be­sides, Dube reck­ons a lux­ury yacht would be a great in­vest­ment, he told City Press this week.

The cat­tle farmer is look­ing to buy an op­u­lent boat, with at least two bed­rooms and an en­ter­tain­ment deck, for be­tween R7 mil­lion and R10 mil­lion.

“I’m look­ing to buy a yacht for char­ter­ing, which would be a good al­ter­na­tive way to gen­er­ate in­come, I think. We could then also use it when we’re in Cape Town,” he said.

Last week, Dube, his wife, their three-year-old son, Thabiso, his sis­ter-in-law Bongiwe, his niece Nosipho, mother-in-law An­gel­ica and mother, Tombezeni, were lav­ishly en­ter­tained on a cruise to Clifton cap­tained by Derrick Levy, CEO of lux­ury yacht dis­trib­u­tor Boat­ing World, which has out­lets in Cape Town and Dur­ban.

They are among an in­creas­ing num­ber of af­flu­ent fam­i­lies from around Africa who are buy­ing in­vest­ment boats for use in Cape Town, now widely re­garded as the con­ti­nent’s cap­i­tal of lux­ury.

Levy told City Press that he was ne­go­ti­at­ing 30 sim­i­lar sales – five of which he ex­pected to go through very soon.

While a tank­ing rand and drought con­tin­ues to push South Africa’s econ­omy into a de­cline, some peo­ple’s wal­lets ap­pear to be bul­let­proof.

“There will al­ways be peo­ple with money. Right now, South African ex­porters are coin­ing it with the weak rand – peo­ple who earn in dol­lars,” said Levy.

He de­scribed Cape Town as “the lux­ury door­way to Africa”, and said he had sold a string of mul­ti­mil­lion-rand sports fish­ing boats and yachts to buy­ers in Kenya, An­gola, Uganda and even Sierra Leone.

Presently, he is bro­ker­ing two sales to to­bacco ty­coons in Malawi, he said.

An­golan oil ship­ping mag­nate Mauro Car­valho bought a brand new R26 mil­lion Fair­line Squadron 65 yacht from Levy two years ago.

The yacht, with four bed­rooms plus crew quar­ters and two en­ter­tain­ment decks, one fit­ted with an elec­tric braai, was berthed at the five-star One&Only Cape Town for an ex­clu­sive farewell party at­tended by ANC stal­wart Tony Yen­geni the night be­fore its de­par­ture.

Other re­cent guests on Levy’s lux­ury yachts have in­cluded Danielle, Bradley and lit­tle Is­abella Ha­bana – fam­ily of Spring­bok hero Bryan Ha­bana – and TV pro­ducer Dali Tambo and his wife, Rachel.

Back in Clifton, Dube told City Press that the cruise was a “great ex­pe­ri­ence, so com­fort­able”.

“I have a fear of wa­ter, so I wouldn’t swim,” he said.

In drought-rid­den Lim­popo, he has been forced to buy lucerne for his 200 red Brah­man since Au­gust. But the farmer, who was born in Bulawayo in Zim­babwe, said his an­i­mals were in peak con­di­tion and that he had some cash to spare.

At the Thabaz­imbi Agri­cul­tural Show last year, his stud clinched the re­serve se­nior cham­pion red bull prize.

“I’m still busy do­ing my home­work. I will watch the econ­omy and make my fi­nal de­ci­sion [about the yacht] next month.”

Levy added that some peo­ple pre­ferred to in­vest in yachts be­cause they were not fixed as­sets.

“Some peo­ple feel they have the free­dom to es­cape the world’s political is­sues by in­vest­ing in a ves­sel. By liv­ing on their own boat, they be­come the mas­ter of their own des­tiny,” he said.

Mean­while, Dube said that while his heart re­mained with his red Brah­man cat­tle in Polok­wane, a piece of him now also yearned for Cape Town.

“Cape Town it­self is a very ad­dic­tive place. It’s a place one would want to visit again and again. My heart is now split,” he said.

PHOTO: BOAT­ING WORLD

Bradley, Danielle and lit­tle Is­abella Ha­bana (above) were treated to an out­ing around the V&A Wa­ter­front ma­rina on this yacht. Brah­man breeder Khu­phuk­ile Dube and lux­ury yacht trader Derrick Levy (insert) take a Fair­line Targa 48, like the one pic­tured (right), on a test ride to Clifton

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