Frank Buyanga, the controversial 38-year-old property tycoon, has been faking it that he is a reverend, The Standard can reveal.
Buyanga, with nearly 400 000 followers on Facebook, wants to be known as a God-fearing church leader. But sources say privately, the England-born petrol-head leads the lifestyle of a playboy.
Buyanga attends the ZAOGA Forward in Faith Ministries founded by Ezekiel Guti, where he is known for donating lavishly and has the church title of “elder” despite his relative youth.
Church officials said Buyanga’s apparent misrepresentation had gone uncorrected because of fears he would turn off the taps to his fortune.
So afraid of the millionaire businessman’s wrath, the church officials were giving an off-the-record briefing in response to an e-mailed request for official comment.
Asked if Buyanga was a reverend, a church official responded matter-of-factly: “No.”
While Buyanga’s Facebook wall is a well-managed PR exercise showing the Hamilton Group chief meeting presidents and celebrities, unguarded pictures of the “reverend” beachside in Cape Town with mystery brunettes showing off his expensive car collection emerged on the internet, raising eyebrows.
Buyanga’s Johannesburg office yesterday said he was in Zimbabwe when we sought his comment.
A Zimbabwe cellphone number provided was being answered by a man who said he was his driver. He repeatedly said Buyanga was in a meeting.
After six years in self-imposed exile, Buyanga returned to Zimbabwe in late August to witness the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He was granted VIP treatment and was seen chatting to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila.
He was also a guest at State House for the swearing-in of the two vice-presidents Kembo Mohadi and Constantino Chiwenga early this month.
Buyanga, once described as a loan shark and hounded out of Zimbabwe after senior Zanu PF leaders failed to repay huge loans they had taken from his Hamilton Finance micro-lending company, was recently a judge for the Miss World Zimbabwe finals.
Court hearings continue against Hamilton Finance employees accused of defrauding home owners, mainly individuals who failed to repay loans and lost their homes they had put forward as security in support of their loan applications.
For now, Buyanga appears well-padded against the charges as he seeks to rebuild his business empire.
He currently lives in a luxury penthouse at the Michelangelo Towers in the heart of Sandton, Johannesburg, which is reputed to be Africa’s richest square mile.
He is a well-known resident there, with an exclusive basement garage with some of the most expensive cars money can buy — a Rolls-Royce Wraith, a Bentley Bentayga V8, a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, a Maserati Granturismo GT, a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG, two Lamborghinis, an Aston Martin DB9, a Bentley Continental, a BMW M5, a Mercedes G-Class and several other SUVs.