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
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.
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
FUN IN THE SUN