The winner of the R145-million PowerBall jackpot is a 34-year-old engineer based in Secunda.
*Thabo arrived at the Ithuba offices in Sandton‚ Johannesburg‚ on Tuesday alongside his 30-year-old wife to claim their winnings.
Dressed in matching outfits with his wife *Lynette‚ he expressed absolute disbelief at being a multi-millionaire.
“It was not easy to make the call [to claim the winnings]‚” Thabo said‚ adding that he found out on Saturday afternoon that he was indeed the winner.
“I needed to properly digest it and accept that my life has changed‚” he added.
Lynette said the hardest thing to do since the weekend was to read all the media hype around the winners.
“You can’t even open your phone without hearing that they are looking for you‚” Lynette said.
The couple spent the entire weekend indoors‚ digesting their fortune.
They finally made the call to the Ithuba offices on Monday afternoon and were told to come in.
Lynette said one of the toughest things was keeping mum at work as her colleagues discussed the winner’s fate.
“They were saying ‘guys‚ this money has been won right here’. I had to pretend and [also comment]‚” the soft-spoken Lynette said.
The young couple have been married for three years but have been together since their varsity days.
“We have both been playing lotto since then‚” Lynette said.
“After classes‚ we would walk a distance to play the lotto‚” she said.
They played the lotto three times a week but had never won more than a few hundred rand.
While their newly achieved multi-millionaire status will ensure their living standards improve‚ the couple has never struggled financially.
“I have between R20‚000 and R30‚000 in my account right now‚” said Thabo.
“Even growing up‚ I can’t say we struggled but it was a life of hustling‚” he said.
The toughest time he ever went through was shortly after he qualified as an engineer.
“There was a time I spent a while looking for a job and I would never want anyone to experience that‚” he said.
“You’ve studied but no work. I would even hope to just pick up R20 to buy a cold drink‚” Thabo added.
He acknowledged that both his and his wife’s lives had changed forever.
The money has landed in the hands of the financially savvy couple‚ who said that besides their car‚ they hardly had any debt.
Thabo said resigning from work was certainly on the cards but that would not happen immediately.
The couple agreed that the future would take careful planning.
* Thabo and Lynette requested that their real names not be used.
By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital.