Bank robber to businessman: Inside Gayton McKenzie’s empire


Bank robber to businessman: Inside Gayton McKenzie’s empire

From diamond mines to clubs and hotels: Take a look inside Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie’s business empire…

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Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie has often spoken about hustling hard in his multiple businesses and how he is not in politics for the money.

He’s even turned down a paycheck from parliament and a previous salary as the Mayor of Central Karoo District.


But where does the former convict’s cash come from?


This week, Gayton McKenzie made headlines when he engaged in a war of words with several X commentators who questioned his views on the economy.

When one tweep called him “economically illiterate and irrational,” Gayton clapped back: “I am richer than you. I have started more businesses than you; I give more jobs to people than you”.

The Patriotic Alliance leader continued: “My books sell a hundred times more copies than yours. Don’t let your white privilege give you the slightest idea that you can lecture me on economics.”


Gayton McKenzie is a former convict who served time for armed robbery. He was also a notorious “Americans” gangster and leader of a prison’s “26” gang.

After robbing banks, petrol stations, and casinos, Gayton was eventually sentenced to 17 years behind bars.

Speaking to Power FM in 2017, Gayton McKenzie claims he decided to commit crime as a young boy.

He told host Iman Rapetti: “I already knew that I would be a criminal at the age of 8; that was my choice, and that’s how I got involved.

Gayton McKenzie has reflected on his life of crime

He continued: “I robbed my first bank just before I turned 16. Then I was a fully-fledged gangster. I was one of the most wanted guys. I spent my whole youth in jail after being sentenced to 17 years”.

In jail, Gayton decided to turn his life around after he witnessed the brutal rape of an underage prisoner.

The account eventually led him to become one of the “Grootvlei Four” who exposed widespread corruption at the Bloemfontein prison.


Gayton McKenzie publicly declared that he would not utilise a cent from his new position as an MP.

He tweeted earlier this month: “I currently earn more from my investments per month.

“I will donate a hundred percent of my parliamentary salary to the Joslin Smith Foundation for missing children.”

He also previously claimed that he donated 100% of his R1,4 million a year salary as the mayor of the Central Karoo District to fix the municipality.

But where does he get an income from?


According to his own admission, Gayton McKenzie owns diamond mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe. A blog post reveals he has business interests and investments in various fields, including nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and events venues, logistics and transport, imports, energy, and farming.

@patriot1056 #gayton #gaytonmckenzie #gaytonmckenzieforpresident2024 ♬ original sound – patriot23


Gayton has written about his colourful life experiences in various books that include

The Choice, The Uncomfortable Truth, The Hustler’s Bible and Trapped.


In a recent video, Gayton McKenzie confessed to owning multiple residential properties which he rents out.



Alaa Hamdy

Professional entertainment content writer in Hanover, South Africa. I know all the secrets of celebrities

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