No bling without the King

2009-08-25 17:00

FROM a distance, the executive jazz pub in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria,

looks like another venue struggling to pull upper-class clients amid the


But once inside, one sees that Ram Square, lavishly decorated with brown

leather couches and designer chairs on shiny floors, is the envy of many

nightlife revellers.

The walls are well-decorated with, among other things, a bronze mould picture

of Sarah Baartmann.

Top club DJs like Oskido, Vinny Da Vinci, Christos and Metro FM’s Eddie Zondi

have left many a reveller out of breath at this joint before.

Welcome to the much-talked-about hot spot in Tshwane owned by suspected crime

boss William “King of Bling” Mbatha.

And it shows: the place smells and feels of bling, high finish, imported

furniture, French doors and other fine touches.

The place is usually packed with party animals, but when City Press visited

on Friday night, only two cars were parked outside.

Inside, three of Mbatha’s friends and four female companions dressed in

designer clothing sat chilling. They served themselves alcohol while smoking the

night away. One was on his laptop.

It is clear that since his arrest on July 29, the place has missed the King

of Bling’s personal touch.

Usually, he would be here himself, splurging on expensive whisky and being


Mbatha, a father of two – a boy and a girl – has had top local and

international celebrities at his pub.

US music stars R Kelly and Akon have been here. Mbatha has the happy snaps to

prove it.

“Since Mashwabana (a township compliment referring to his fashionable linen

pants) was arrested business has been slow,” says one regular reveller.

The last big gig hosted by Mashwabana was apparently on August 6, according

to a man who attended it. “Expensive liquor was in full supply.”

Mbatha is not short of support. Self-made Queen of Bling, Khanyi Mbau, has

described him as “the township Robin Hood”. “He takes from the rich and gives to

the poor. My friend has helped a lot of people,” she says.

Mbatha’s fans are making their presence felt on social media. His Facebook

fan club has more than 1 500 members.

This week one fan, King DonFather, wrote: “Bling lyfe is the sh*t bafethu

ain’t no lie, I’m in North America for 12 years now. When I just came didn’t

understand it but nine years ago I became 1 big bling dowg and Im luving living

it up. To Mbatha & every1, you only have 1 life to live, KING do your thing

& let haters hate while players play.”

Another fan described Mbatha as “the Real King of Swagger”. Nkhensani Chauke

wrote: “King of Bling we miss you and the bling. Mashwanabana is de master and

pls ppl stop hating the guy, he is so sweet nd he worked hard 4 wht he’s got, it

doesn’t matter wht kinda job he did.”

Police estimate that Mbatha has asserts worth about R8 million. These include

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

R280 000, a Big Dog Ridgeback motorcycle worth R250 000, a VW Golf, a Toyota Hi

Ace, a VW microbus and a Lazy Lowder trailer.

He also owns three houses, one in the upmarket suburb of Irene in Centurion,

a weekend hideaway at Hartbeespoort Dam and a house in his township,


Mbatha (36) appeared at the Germiston Magistrate’s Court this week on charges

of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

His wife Yvonne was there to support him. She was chauffeur-driven to court

in a new Golf 5 GTI. The matter will be back in court on Wednesday.

The King of Bling is on bail of R15 000 for a robbery in Bedfordview, an

offence he allegedly committed while he was out on bail of R50 000 for nine

counts of housebreaking and theft in Pretoria.

Another case of attempted robbery, which he is on R15 000 bail for, will be

back in court on Friday.

SA Police Service’s national crime intelligence spokesperson, Tummi Golding,

said Mbatha is being held at the Boksburg High Risk facility unit.

“Its a normal procedure to house high risk suspects like Mbatha at these

facilities,” she said.

Mbatha’s criminal record dates back to 1997 and he is on Gauteng police’s

most wanted list.

Golding said his alleged modus operandi was to target Chinese business people

and rob them.

Mbatha’s lawyer, Bronwynne Forbay, declined to comment. “No comment, all the

details on these matters will be disclosed on Wednesday.”

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