‘I failed William’

2009-09-01 08:22

WILLIAM “King of Bling” Mbatha’s father was a dribbling wizard on

the football pitch.

Adoring fans dubbed him Modimo wa bolo (the God of soccer). 

In his heyday, Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe would cut through

­defenders like a hot knife through ­butter, leaving them confused.

William’s mother, Virginia Mbatha, was the lead singer of an

Atteridgeville music group that ­performed at weddings and parties.

Sadly, the now ­infamous suspected crime boss did not take after

his parents, Moripe and Virginia, who were never married. They parted ways when

William was seven years old.

Moripe (59) says the only picture he has of his son has faded with


“I was shocked and embarrassed when I saw him making headlines for

the wrong reasons,” he says.

William dropped out of school while he was in Grade 9. His academic

records show that he was a below-average learner.

In 1987, while doing Grade 8, he obtained ­position 347 out of 365

learners, with a 31.6% average mark.

“Maybe things could have turned differently if I was involved in

his upbringing,” says Moripe.

Williams’s former teachers at Atteridgeville’s Saul Ridge Secondary

School say he was “a quiet and ­reserved learner”. “You could not even get a

word out of him whenever he was asked a question,” says one of the teachers.

A former schoolmate ­describes him as an outcast who wore tattered

shoes to school.

“I failed as a father to look after William and guide him as a

parent,” says the former Pretoria Callies and Orlando Pirates maestro.

At 18, William was convicted of housebreaking. He was not

imprisoned but received several lashes.

He now faces more than nine ­cases ranging from theft, fraud,

housebreaking and tax evasion.

Police estimate that William has assets worth R8 million. These

include a R2.7 million Lamborghini, two BMWs, two Harley Davidson motorbikes

worth R280 000, a Big Dog Ridgeback motorcycle worth R250 000, a VW microbus and

a lazy Lowder trailer.

He also owns three houses and wears designer clothes. Among his

friends are top businesspeople, doctors, police officers and lawyers.

This week, William’s brother, Mapogo, hired two luxury buses to

take the King of Bling’s supporters to the Germiston Magistrates’ Court where he

appeared on two charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The case was postponed to ­Thursday this week for a final bail


When his supporters, who had been bused in from Pretoria, returned

from court on Wednesday they were given free food and drinks. Last week

socialite Khanyi Mbau referred to the King of Bling as the “township Robin Hood,

stealing from the rich to give to the poor”.

“My friend did a lot of things for many people,” said Mbau.

And Mbatha has the community eating out of his hands.

On Women’s Day this month, he threw a lavish party for all women

and children in his neighbourhood in Atteridgeville.

Eight jumping castles were hired so the kids could play while their

mothers enjoyed themselves.

At his club, Ram Square, the King of Bling regularly throws lavish

parties, serving top-brand whisky to his friends and inner circle.

It is believed that he is ­also a loan shark, dishing out loans to

some police officers in return for freedom.

Police national crime intelligence spokesperson Superintendent

Tummi Golding says they are investigating these allegations and have a strong

case against him.

If only the God of soccer could save the day, he would rather the

King of Bling dazzled on the football pitch. “My son could have been a soccer

star,” he laments.

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