Popular radio and TV personality Jeremy Mansfield was subjected to a torrent of criticism after declaring that he’s house-hunting in the Cotswolds, one of the UK’s most sought-after residential countryside areas.
The Cotswolds is a rural area of south central England with rolling hills, medieval villages, churches and stately homes built of local yellow limestone.
The average house price in the area is £348 676 (R5.8 million), comparable to many up-market houses in South Africa’s bigger cities.
Mansfield wrote on Tuesday that he had found a “wonderful place” in the Cotswolds. He bragged that it wasn’t far from Prince Charles’ house, so “not a bad neighbourhood!”.
He shared a photo of the prince’s estate, “which produces goods sold through his shop in the local town for his trust”.
The post received much admiration and support from some of his followers, but others slammed him for apparently abandoning South Africa after declaring at the start of the year that he had ambitions to run as an MP for the DA in the 2019 elections.
Mansfield explained that he wasn’t leaving the country permanently and still intended to work with the DA.
“No. Will [stand as an MP] if they want me, but also want my own space!” he told one follower.
Mansfield told another critic he still planned to spend time in South Africa, but he had a daughter in the UK “and would like to spend time with her”.
“It’s not an unreasonable request from a father. And is also a great investment. I do not rely on any government handouts and am not part of a pension fund as I have worked for myself my whole media career. I have to look after my future through investments. One leg of them has to be offshore as a rand hedge. It just makes financial sense.”
On Friday, however, he decided to put the whole matter to bed by posting about it again, saying he could “only laugh at the outrage!”
“Does anyone realise if you are on a pension fund around 30% of your investment is offshore? It’s called diversification and hedging. I have worked freelance for myself and have to make the right investment decisions. My pension fund is my investment portfolio.
“It makes sense to me that (as your pension fund manager does) part of that is offshore. Why am I even bothering to reply! I don’t need to justify where I spend my hard earned, taxed, money. Especially to people who refer to me as a dancing clown. If you don’t like me leave the page.
“Go live your life. I will live mine. Happily. Continuing to do good and contributing to a positive South Africa. Without you.”
Most of the people who responded in the deluge of comments that followed were supportive, with one saying, for example: “Do I detect some envy from the people who are so quick to judge? You did well, Jeremy, and living off the fruits of your labour is your rewards to enjoy. Sour grapes and jealousy are the result of the ones who did not invest wisely….ignore them, they only have themselves to blame…”