PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s sons, Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine—notorious for a wild partying lifestyle — were recently evicted from a luxurious apartment in South Africa’s most affluent area of Sandton in Johannesburg after a violent brawl that left one security officer with a broken leg and arm, the Zimbabwe Independent can exclusively report.
By Bernard Mpofu/Elias Mambo
Informed sources in Harare and Johannesburg told the Independent this week Mugabe’s boys, known in social circles for hanging out with a harem of trendy young ladies, drinking binges and alleged drug abuse, as well as splurging money like confetti, were last month booted out of The Regent MCC luxury apartments located at Number 21 West Road South, Morningside in Sandton, Johannesburg’s wealthiest area.
Sandton, which has a deluxe shopping mall which the boys frequent and affluent suburbs, is Africa’s richest square mile.
Sources said Robert Jr and Chatunga were kicked out of apartment number 601 at the 10-storey block which costs up to R74 000 (US$5 606 at yesterday’s exchange rate) per month for a four-bedroomed floor. The facility has a five-metre-high perimeter fence, a double gate, 24-hour entrance security, fingerprint-secured elevator entry, a spa, gym and restaurant.
This comes after the two boys and their friends recently painted the town red during a birthday party of one of them.
A source said they spent money all over Johannesburg, including at a famous Sandton night club Taboo and Sun City, South Africa’s premium tourist and weekend destination with a host of hotels, remarkable attractions and entertainment — famed for golfing, game viewing and water sports.
As first reported by the Independent in April, Mugabe’s sons relocated from Dubai and Harare to Johannesburg at the beginning of the year after some problems involving fights and banned substances, especially in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This paper also reported that security details feared for their lives due to their indulgent lifestyles and Johannesburg’s violent crime wave.
Sources said the boys lived large: apart from staying in the luxurious apartment, they were usually chauffeured in
Mercedes-Benz and BMW cars, while also enjoying the services of a chef and a dozen security details.
“The boys were usually up during the night partying with different ladies, drinking and smoking. There were almost daily complaints by other tenants about the noise coming from apartment 601, the smell of cigarettes and drugs that wafted regularly up and down the elevator shaft or off the spacious terrace that showcased Sandton’s beautiful, modern skyline,” one penthouse resident at The Regent said.
“However, everything came to a crashing head in The Regent’s highly secure entrance during a late-night brawl when two rival groups had a dispute over women. The fight which ensued left one member of the security aide with a broken leg and shattered arm. Ambulances and police were called to the scene and witness statements were taken.”
The boys, another resident said, left The Regent abruptly after they were forced to vacate the property for their unacceptable behaviour and the violent incident.
“Cigarette burns, whiskey, champagne and red wine-soiled carpets are all that remain in the floor they once occupied.
Sadly perhaps for Zimbabwe’s taxpayers, a hefty damage deposit, apparently paid for by the state, will be used to replace and repair the damage. The left no forwarding address, but it is understood that they moved to similar lodgings nearby; there are many such affluent penthouses around,” the resident said.
One source said Mugabe’s boys lived “a carefree life of luxury, partying and over-indulgence”.
“Their driver would wait dutifully on call in one of the luxury vehicles, often sleeping there, awaiting a command to drive them to wherever they wanted. It was rarely the case that Robert Jr emerged for morning lectures, which he was supposed to attend at the University of Johannesburg,” the source said.
The First Family, like other well-to-do families in Zimbabwe, are shunning local education and health facilities for better foreign places after Mugabe’s government destroyed domestic amenities.
Sources said following last month’s violent brawl, First Lady Grace Mugabe hurried to Johannesburg to vacate her boys from The Regent and ensure their safety. As a result, she failed to attend Mugabe’s youth rally address in Masvingo. The fracas occurred a day before the rally on June 30.
When the Independent contacted The Regent front office to enquire on rentals at the luxury penthouses, an official requested to know the identity of person who wanted an apartment.
“We usually vet our clients for security reasons, so we may request to know who wants an apartment,” the official said. “For August to December we have two and three-bedroomed apartments ranging from R45 000 (US$3 409) to R55 000 (US$4 166) a month.”
The First Family’s spokesperson Olga Bungu could not be reached for comment.
Addressing multitudes attending a youth rally in Masvingo recently, Mugabe said his wife had missed the event to attend to an emergency relating to their sons’ accommodation in neighbouring South Africa.
“Saka vati tine hurombo ndanga ndichida kuti ndive nemi pamusangano uno asi netsaona dzaitika ikoko handingakurumidze kuuya ndisati ndawana patsvene panogara vana, vakachengetedzeka vese, memukuru, vari kuzvikoro (She said she really wanted to be with you today, but there is an emergency relating to our sons’ accommodation and security that she had to attend to),” Mugabe said at the rally on June 30.
Before relocating to Dubai where he was reportedly forced out due to indulgent behaviour and activities not acceptable in the Moslem UAE, Robert Jr was in China where he apparently dropped out of a military academy as he could not cope with the rigours of training.
Mugabe’s family and state security services responsible for VIP protection fear South Africa’s crime-ridden environment is a security threat to the boys. There are also fears they could also sink into the country’s Sodom and Gomorrah.
Local prominent people’s children have died in mysterious circumstances there.
Former finance minister Simba Makoni and Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo lost their son Tonderai and daughter Zanele Naledi Ntombizodwa in mysterious circumstances in South Africa in 2003 and 2015 respectively.
In 2014, Mugabe’s nephew, Takudzwa Wesley Goronga, was found dead in a wardrobe at Monash University in Johannesburg after having gone missing for 10 days. Earlier in the same year, a female Zimbabwean student had also been found dead in her room in a hall of residence at a local university. Nozipho Tshuma’s body was discovered in her locked room at the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark, south of Gauteng province.
Another final year student at Rhodes University was burnt to death in his apartment a day before he was scheduled to leave campus.