Census 2011: The rich

2012-11-03 18:40

There’s a joke doing the rounds in Polokwane that if you don’t live in Bendor or in neighbouring Ster Park, wine and dine at Rhapsody’s, or own a Range Rover Supercharged, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG or a Golf 6 GTI, you are a “non-entity”.

Locals now refer to Bendor and Ster Park – Polokwane’s most sought-after residential neighbourhoods – as Tender Park.

Limpopo’s wealthy, many of whom are tenderpreneurs and top politicians, live in these two suburbs near Limpopo’s biggest shopping centre, the Mall of the North.

Census 2011 reveals that Polokwane alone is home to 530 people who list their income as more than R2.4 million a year, or more than R200 000 a month.

This is five times more than the 102 people who reported earning that sum in Census 2001.

There are 44 461 superearners in the country, about a quarter of whom live in Johannesburg, according to the census.

Aside from Polokwane’s superwealthy, there are others with thick wallets.

The city is home to 656 people who earn annual salaries of between R1.2 million and R2.4 million, and 1 532 who earn between R600 000 and R1.2 million a year, the census revealed.

Among the area’s most well-known residents is businessman David Mabilu, who owns a vast property empire called Vharanani Properties.

He had a street in Bendor named after his company.

Another “Tender Park” resident is Matome Hlabioa, who has reportedly won several tenders in Limpopo worth R200 million in total.

Hlabioa is a close ally of former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and drives a Range Rover Supercharged worth about R1.2 million.

Tender Park has no place for those who are not millionaires.

A billboard advertising housing developments shows that a basic three-bedroom house sells for R1.5 million.

Also among the area’s well heeled is Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, and businessmen Lesiba Gwangwa, Steve Bosch, Tshepo Malema, Jacques Nel and Malema’s former bodyguard, Collins Foromo.

The houses dominating the area are double-storey mansions painted in shades of red, grey and brown, with vast windows. Many are surrounded by paving.

But those in Ster Park’s Venus Street have neatly trimmed lush green gardens, exotic trees and shrubs.

A resident, who asked not to be named, said: “People here are very rich and they want you to know it. They are so rich they buy a property for about R3 million to knock it down to build an even bigger house.”

Some of those in Tender Park make the residents of some of Joburg’s top suburbs look poor.

“I doubt that there is anyone who works here. These are all multimillionaire businesspeople. Come here on Sunday and you will see the cars that are parked on their driveways. These X6s, BMWs and Mercs are their every day cars.”

Jaguars and Harley-Davidson motorbikes are also common.

Bendor is home to Polokwane’s most prized housing estates and walled suburbs, including Bendor Village, Bendor Gables, Acacia Estate, Sunset Boulevard and Broadlands Estate, where vacant stands reportedly sell for R2 million.

During the evening, the tenderpreneurs and Limpopo’s political elite come out to play at Rhapsody’s, the town’s most popular restaurant, where they smoke cigars and indulge in expensive wine.

But Polokwane’s 530 superearners are surrounded by the poor – the quarter of a million people who, according to the census results, reported not earning any income at all.

» Have you checked out our Census 2011 digital tool? Go here to explore key census data yourself.

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