Powerball winner: Deaf and mute shack dweller wins record R91 million payout

2010-02-15 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Great challenges, stress, lack of safety and pressure from family and the community await South Africa’s new instant multi-millionaire.

These are the typical things a needy person will experience when he or she suddenly becomes a millionaire, according to several Cape Town psychologists.

Stanley Philander (52), a deaf and mute cleaner at a hardware shop in Wynberg, on Friday night won over R91 million in the national lottery’s Powerball game.

It is the largest amount paid by the Lotto to date. The jackpot had rolled over since November 22.

Philander’s wife, Diana (50), is also deaf and mute. They live with their children, Logan (9) and Kirsten (6), in a wooden cottage in a family member’s back yard.

After they were approached for money by neighbours, they’re now staying in an unknown place.

Dr Petri van der Merwe, a psychiatrist at Cape Gate Medi-Clinic, said the couple’s new-found wealth can bring many negative and positive consequences.

“Now they can fulfil their dreams and improve their standard of living. On the other hand, they could experience a lot of pressure from the community and family. That can become very stressful.”

Dr Ester Niemand, a clinical psychologist, said the family probably feel extremely overwhelmed, helpless and a little lost.

Appointing a financial adviser would be a good idea, but even that could involve problems. “Many people will be able to exploit them.”

Niemand said it wasn’t a wise decision to release the winner’s identity.

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