R2m gift inspires car guards

2010-01-16 12:45

Cape Town — Howick property developer Rob Taylor's gift of a R2 million car to a group of Cape Town car guards has inspired them to help others, and the latest beneficiaries will be Haiti's earthquake victims.

The unusual gift has been widely reported, but the giver’s identity has so far been a mystery. Now Cape Town paper Die Burger has established that it was Taylor, who is well known for his love of fast cars, one of them being a Lamborghini Diablo.

He bought the Audi R8 5,2 for R2.03m in Cape Town last year, and gave it to a group of eight car guards who work at the Table Mountain cable car station, along with R20?000, at Christmas time.

Martin Nahimana, one of the guards who received the unusual gift, said on Friday that Taylor inspired them to collect money for charity.

The car guards have cut a slot into the bonnet of the car (which covers the boot, the engine being at the rear) through which the public can slide money for charity. The words “A future for all” appear around the slot.

They have already supplied about R5000 worth of food to homeless people sleeping under Cape Town’s bridges, and say they have the victims of the Haiti earthquake in their sights next.

“The man just started talking to us and saw how we were struggling. He was shocked and asked me to go with him in the car so that he could hand the car’s papers to me,” Nahimana said on Friday.

Nahimana then had to hop into the driver’s seat of the sports car himself and drive it to a car dealer. "The man bought himself a scooter and handed the keys and a receipt for the car to me," Nahimana said.

"I could not believe it. I didn’t want to drive away, but he left there on his scooter.

"I was scared and confused for about an hour, but he said I should take the keys and drive back to the mountain.

"He said the car belongs to us all."

Nahimana said that initially his colleagues thought he had stolen the car.

Taylor apparently told the car guards to "spread the message of charity".

"Learn to share with one another. The life of a car guard can also change and he can drive an expensive car," Taylor told the guards, according to Nahimana.

"Now we must spread the message. Rich and poor have to share with one another," he said.

Nahimana says their biggest problem is that the Metro police have pulled them off the road 15 times already — convinced the car is stolen — but every time they have been able to produce the appropriate documents.

Nahimana says he doesn’t think Taylor is crazy.

"In Haiti, people had to sleep in the street because they were too scared to sleep in the buildings," he said. "We will rather collect money for them than sell the car."

The car’s papers are made out to the Angel’s Way Trust in Howick and the car was paid for in cash.

Taylor did not answer his cellphone on Friday.

In 2006, Taylor and his beloved Lamborghini Diablo were in the news when he was trapped at 207km/h on the N3 near Camperdown, and offered to lend the traffic cop the car — to punish himself.