Cosy home for the very rich

07 November 2010 - 02:00 By SIMPHIWE PILISO

Imagine counting some of Johannesburg's wealthiest residents among your neighbours. Well, R84.9-million could buy you that privilege.

One of the city's most expensive homes on Sandhurst's Oxford Avenue is on the market for R100-million, but the owner is willing to slash the price by R15-million. The many-columned sandstone palace, modelled on Pretoria's Union Buildings with terraced gardens, was bought in 2008 in an auction by Patience Mlengana, whose husband Mike is a Telkom executive.

The 8000m² property had belonged to billionaire Rwandan telecommunications mogul, Miko Rwayitare, who died in 2007 in a Brussels clinic after an intestinal operation.

Mlengana acquired the hilltop mansion - which boasts a hairdressing salon, seven en-suite bedrooms, a multimillion-rand home automation system, tennis court, koi ponds, and a movie theatre - for R65-million.

Other bidders at the auction included businessman Douw Steyn, who reportedly put in a bid of R60-million.

Steyn, who mostly commutes between his homes in London, a five-star boutique hotel in Johannesburg, and 10000ha game reserve Shambala in the Waterberg mountains, also owns an estimated 3965m² mansion on Oxford Avenue.

Steyn, who often flies his friends in helicopters to his game reserve and is reportedly worth more than £200-million (R2.2-billion), bought his Oxford Avenue property - neighbouring Mlengana's home - for R32.5-million, according to deeds records.

The records also show that other homeowners in the street, which was recently listed among the most exclusive and priciest in the country, include FirstRand's chief executive Sizwe Nxasana, whose home is valued at more than R16.5-million, and developer David Mabilu, whose 4080m² property is worth more than R14-million.

Not to be outdone, Mark Lamberti, the former head of Massmart, owns a 9772m² home that was worth R17.5-million in 2003.