TRANSPORT tycoon and attempted murder accused Shawn Blunden is involved in a new 100% black-owned start-up company to operate in the public passenger transport sector of the Eastern Cape.
The company, Star of Azania (SOA), was launched in Port Elizabeth yesterday after lengthy struggles to obtain funding for the joint venture.
Shawn Blunden co-founded Blunden Coach Tours in Port Elizabeth more than 30 years ago.
The new project came to fruition when the Masisizane Fund, an initiative of the Old Mutual Group, assisted the start-up with R4.5-million.
Blunden, 52, along with SOA managing director Mkhonto Mntwini and Blunden’s son, Wesley, who is also a director in the start-up, unveiled the fleet of new buses.
They are three 65-seater vehicles valued at between R3-million and R4.5-million each.
ANC MPL Christian Martin attended the launch, where it was revealed that the start-up is 100% black-owned – just like Blunden Coach Tours, which is the only wholly black-owned luxury bus service in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Shawn Blunden is out on R50 000 bail for the alleged attempted murder of his former brother-in-law, Deon Williams.
Mntwini said SOA would have to pay back the R4.5-million over five years.
He said the bus market was difficult to crack as it was high-cost intensive.
“There is no other youth-owned business in the bus industry in the whole Eastern Cape, let alone a 100% black-owned one, and we will do our best to ensure that we become a competitive player in the market over the next 10 years,” he said.
ý Shawn Blunden, meanwhile, spoke briefly about the attempted murder case hanging over his head.
He said he had shot his former brother-in-law in self-defence as he believed that he would have been killed by him if he did not act.
“I was attacked first and I would have been shot if I did not act,” he said.
According to court papers, Blunden allegedly threatened to have his sister, Cheryl Williams, and his niece, Kaylin, kicked out of the Walmer Heights house in which they live as it forms part of a family trust.
The estate is said to have belonged to his father, George Blunden, who died in 2004.
Shawn Blunden claimed yesterday that the two women were trying to portray a false image about there being a dispute over a share in the trust.
He alleged instead, that they were after a “non-existent payment” and that during the dispute, Deon Williams, Cheryl and Kaylin were eaten up by greed and jealousy and threatened to tear down his company and everything he had worked for, which had taken more than 30 years to build.
“There is a lot of envy from them, but I will continue to grow and build my company and other businesses that will help grow the economy,” Blunden said.