R145m Powerball winner shares the secret hiding place for his winning ticket
Where would you keep a winning lottery ticket of R145-million? In your sock‚ of course!
So says the young Secunda-based engineer who scooped the Powerball jackpot on Friday.
"I kept it in my sock at night because I thought about what if thieves were to come in and here. Not because they know anything…but take it‚" said Thabo.
Even as he reported for duty on Monday‚ the ticket was still safely tucked away in his boot.
"I kept on thinking that what if I was involved in a car accident. You know how people lose their wallets in accidents‚ so it was safer there‚" Thabo added.
He was speaking to this publication on Tuesday afternoon at the Ithuba offices where he and his 30-year-old wife came to claim their winnings.
Thabo said he was in disbelief when he found out on Saturday afternoon that he was the sole winner of the jackpot.
He had been lying in bed after a nap when he decided to go on the internet on his phone and check his ticket against the winning numbers.
He instantly knew that he had won and casually informed his wife‚ still in disbelief.
"He said‚ 'I've won the Lotto.' But then said he was joking. I could see that he just wasn't himself and then he told me‚" said Lynette‚ Thabo's wife.
The couple’s true identities have been withheld.
They tried to stay as normal as possible throughout the weekend‚ keeping themselves behind closed doors‚ wary not to share the news with anyone.
"On Saturday‚ we sat still. I was even afraid to go out just in case something happened to me‚" Thabo said.
The big question remains: how did he pick the lucky winning numbers?
Good-old Fafi‚ better known as “mo-china” in the townships.
"I used my dreams for guidance‚" said Thabo.
Fafi associates numbers to certain objects and characteristics. For example‚ it associates the number four to a dead man. Thabo said he had dreamt of people fighting and a man was killed in that fight – which led him to picking the number 4 as his Powerball number.
On Tuesday‚ he used R5 to bet on the same numbers. He had not won.
But on Friday evening‚ after a night out with the guys‚ he headed to the Total garage in Evander where he placed his bet‚ using R20 for an ordinary play and other R30 for a Quickpick ticket.
For the young couple‚ playing the Lotto was common. Lynette even recalled how‚ in their varsity days‚ they would walk from campus to an outlet to place their bets.
Thabo and Lynette said the one thing that they did not expect was for their winnings to be absolutely tax-free.
"I expected to get about R90-million after tax‚" he said‚ adding that it was shock.
The couple‚ who have no debt expect for their car‚ want to lead a life as normal as possible before resigning from their jobs.
Thabo said he wanted to establish a few businesses and put some money into investment accounts.
They intend on only letting their parents know.
"The money scares me. I don't know what it would take for me to play the Lotto again‚" Thabo said.
"It took me so long to get here. All I can say is people must just keep playing the Lotto. They should take chances‚" he said.
Finally‚ does this mean the lives of their families have also changed for good?
Thabo and Lynette agree that this secured generational wealth‚ but did not mean there would be any handouts.
"I want to see them all working‚ affording their lifestyles. I don't want them to rely on me. I am willing to invest in their business plans but not necessarily give them cash‚" Thabo said.
On Wednesday‚ the couple would return the Ithuba offices where they would meet with psychologists and financial advisors. Thabo welcomed the assistance‚ saying he needed all the help he could get.
"This would have never happened of my own accord. It has to have been a higher power‚" Thabo said‚ blushing in disbelief.
According to Ithuba's PR manager‚ Naledi Masopha‚ this is the highest winning to ever be recorded. Before this‚ the biggest winning amount was R110-million‚ and had to be split between four winners.