Fired workers accuse Green Fuel management ‘ Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant’ of racism

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THE white management at Green Fuel, popularly known as Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant, has been labelled ‘racist’ by workers who said they were fired without any salaries and benefits.

At a press conference held Thursday in Harare, dismissed drivers accused the management of instilling fear in workers and overworking them without salaries and benefits.

The 25 drivers said it was hell working for the company.

“I was a truck driver with Green Fuel since June, 2013 and drove a 30-40 tonne truck from Middle Sabi to Chisumbanje but I was unfairly dismissed from work without any notice.

“I have no salary and the management does not want any negotiations with employees,” said Felix Chimatira.

Chimatira added that one manager hates blacks to the extent that he did not want anyone to look straight into his eyes, lest one lost their job.

George Mohowo said he had worked for more than 4 years but was dismissed for voicing his grievances which included overtime allowances and salary arrears for six months.

“We were put on forced leave and the employer, instead, hired new workers without considering our grievances as we wanted to negotiate for better working conditions,” said an irate Mohowo.

As one driver put it, “the employer wants free, rather than, cheap labour.”

The workers said the harsh conditions they experienced at Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant were worsened by the heavy presents of police who they say patrolled the company premises 24/7, threatening workers and the surrounding communities.

In May, the workers alleged, police threw teargas at villagers and Takwirira Secondary school children were affected with some hospitalised.

They also alleged that white colleagues get full salaries and benefits while blacks were being paid 25% of their salaries per month.

“White employees get 5 times more than us black employees and this is not fair.

“Management also pays fees for its white staff while our children are languishing at home as we cannot pay their fees,” said one Abias Dziru.

Claris Madhuku, Platform for Youth Development Director, said the company does not allow people to form any workers’ committee or join any trade unions.

“Our concern as an organisation is the presence of state apparatus such as the police and soldiers.

“The working environment is not conducive for workers and the management sees employees (especially blacks) as a problem yet it is not willing to negotiate for better remuneration and working conditions,” said Madhuku.

“I am happy to say the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has been representing these workers in court and in most cases the workers have won their cases,” he added.

Madhuku said more than 700 workers have been dismissed or retrenched but the issue at stake involves their salaries and benefits which to-date is still outstanding.

Efforts to get a comment from Taurai Nhondowa, Green Fuel Human Resources Manager and other top management employees were fruitless as their phones went unanswered. source-newzimbabwe

Temba Mliswa’s Property Attached Over US$3 Million Commercial Bank loan

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Property worth thousands of dollars belonging to former Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman Temba Mliswa was yesterday attached by the deputy sheriff at his Spring Farm in a bid to recover nearly $3 million owed to a local commercial bank.

The deputy sheriff went to Mliswa’s Spring Farm in Karoi at around 8am yesterday.

A 48-hour moratorium is provided before the property is taken away and sold to recover the money owed.

The attached property includes farm equipment, household and guest house furniture and 180 head of cattle.

Mliswa is said to owe the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe $2 745 092,72, which he allegedly failed to repay despite several letters of demand. Source: The Herald

Top (RBZ) executives on US$780,000 fraud charges , bailed but remain in detention

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THREE top Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) executives accused of $780,000 fraud, were last week granted bail despite opposition from prosecutors who say they were a flight risk.

However, they all remained in custody after the State invoked a legal provision that suspends bail pending appeal.

Fidelity Printers and Refiners chief operating officer, Godknows Hofisi, 41, finance director, Tinashe Wellington Mbengegwi, 35, and finance manager, Ronald Madhara, 47 were granted $1,000 bail each by Harare magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe.

All three are accused of defrauding the company – a currency printing and gold buying unit of the country’s central bank – along with accomplice James Munemo, 34, who owns a company called Swisspack Enterprises Private Limited.

Magistrate Chikwekwe rejected the State’s opposition to bail saying the fact that the accused were senior executives does not necessarily mean that they would interact with witnesses.

He ordered all four to report at CID fraud once a week and to surrender their passports to the clerk of court. They were also ordered not to interfere with witnesses.

However, prosecutors invoked section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Section 121 which gives the State the powers to provisionally revoke bail granted by magistrates.

As a result all the four accused were remanded in custody to July 10.

According to the State, the three RBZ executives authorised deposits totalling $780,000 into Munemo’s company, Swisspack, drawing the money from Fidelity printers and refinery’s accounts. They allegedly diverted the money to personal use.

The payments were purportedly for gold deliveries when, in actual fact, no such gold deliveries were made o Fidelity printers. According to the state, there were no supporting documents of the said gold deliveries.

Prosecutors say Munemo would withdraw the money each time a deposit was made.

On June 4 this year, an internal auditor visited Fidelity printers and unearthed the fraud resulting in a police report being made.source-newzimbabwe

‘Mugabe doesn’t care about war vets’ says former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda

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Firebrand former war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda has lashed President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party for allegedly failing to look after the welfare of former liberation war fighters.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Sibanda said the failure by the government to pay school fees for the children of war veterans was clear testimony that the nonagenarian and the ruling party did not care about the welfare of ex-combatants and their families.

“They do not care about us. It is sickening that we are not getting money for our children’s fees. When I was leading the war veterans, I raised these issues but what was clear was that they did not care about us.

“Some of the war veterans are disabled and if government doesn’t pay for their children, who will? Some like us were lucky to have found employment but what then happens to those who are unemployed?” Sibanda fumed.

“Look at our country, it is very difficult for war veterans to see the president and raise their concerns. When I was still the leader of war veterans, it was easier for me to see leaders of other countries than Mugabe. That is the attitude they have towards war veterans.

“The issues that I wanted to raise to the President were constitutional matters because war veterans and their welfare are embodied in the Constitution.

“So you see, there is no regard for the Constitution, it’s a document meant to be kept in a drawer. All problems war veterans are facing are because of the bad attitude of the ruling party and its leadership. If we go to Parliament you will see that MPs like (Priscilla) Misihairabwi–Mushonga are the ones raising issues to do with war veterans. Who is Misihairabwi–Mushonga? An opposition MP.

“Where are the MPs from the ruling party? They do not care about us although we sacrificed our lives for them to be in power today,” Sibanda added.

He also pointed out that it had been significant that Mugabe had allegedly failed to thank war veterans after they secured his and Zanu PF’s disputed 2013 poll victory.

“Let me tell you, as war veterans, we worked very hard after Mugabe came out third in the 2008 elections with 43 percent.  (Morgan) Tsvangirai was second with 47 percent and the winner was the Constitution with 51 percent.

“After that, every member of the association contributed money to go around the country for four years and 11 months campaigning for Zanu PF.  We worked very hard that they retain power and we were never recognised after what we did.
“After securing them a victory still we did not have a minister of war veterans. A minister was only appointed after my executive was booted out in Masvingo last year,” Sibanda said.

Contacted for comment, War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa referred the Daily News to his permanent secretary, Brigadier General Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi, to get answers about delayed school fees for the children of war veterans, but he was not available. Source: dailynews

Zim businessman wrest control of his R4m Rolls Royce Ghost from SA authorities

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Zimbabwean businessman Frank Buyanga has thumbed his nose at South African authorities, including the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and the police, after wresting control of his R4 million Rolls Royce Ghost.

This comes after a protracted four-year battle between the Pretoria authorities and the maverick businessman, and in which the posh car was controversially auctioned in March by Tom Moyane’s organisation.

When the Auto Haus Car Hire (Auto Haus)-owned Rolls Royce was sold off in South Africa (SA) – along other high-end vehicles owned by alleged mafia boss Radovan Krejcir and ex-strip tease joint-operator Lolly Jackson – Buyanga’s lawyers accused SARS of wrongfully impounding and auctioning the car.

In his court application, Engelbertus Grove not only accused SARS of disregarding his client’s ownership proof and pleas for the reason why the Rolls Royce was forfeited in 2014, but queried the South African revenue agency’s locus standi in seizing the transit car.

“Despite its invitation… the applicant (Auto Haus) did not receive correspondence (approval or disapproval) of its submissions of 14 November 2014. Had there been correspondence, the applicant does not have same in its possession..,” he said in his founding affidavit opposing the sale of the vehicle.

“Apart from running into a brick wall, the respondent (SARS) did not provide the applicant with reasons, alternatively sufficient reasons why it refuses to accept the evidence presented… on ownership in the vehicle,” Grove said, adding a slew of documents from Deca Motors International Limited (Deca) and Ian Frank Properties’ agency role proved “prima facie ownership, as no evidence to the contrary was produced”.

“Despite the allegations of a so-called police investigation since 2010, no evidence was presented to counteract the evidence… regarding the applicant’s claim of ownership of the vehicle.”

While the swanky ride was originally taken by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in 2010 on suspicion that it had been stolen by a syndicate at the Durban harbour, the car was eventually forfeited and auctioned off by Sechaba Trust (Sechaba) earlier this year – although Buyanga has inexplicably repossessed the car.

But Buyanga and Auto Haus insisted that they had duly presented the documents required by the police at the time, and which included the bill of entry, import permit and proof of purchase from Deca.

In particular, the parties also said they had tendered an electronic SARS release note – known as the SAD500 form – as proof of the vehicle’s clearance for importation and its British registration papers and Rolls Royce certificate of newness.

But despite this overwhelming evidence and documentation, and London authorities’ denial that the Rolls Royce was reported stolen, SAPS and its revenue counterpart held out to their positions – thus raising questions about the South African judicial system’s impartiality as well.

“The applicant is awaiting reasons for the refusal of the latest representations made to the respondent. All or any discrepancies that were contained in documentation – were to the knowledge of the applicant – explained to the respondent. To the applicant, it seems as if the respondent unilaterally ignored the complete evidence to date,” Grove had said in his application and attacked SARS for its “irrational and unreasonable” behaviour.

On account of a letter that said “until such time as your interest in the vehicle has been clarified, the commissioner was under no obligation to allow you to inspect the vehicle”, Buyanga’s camp railed at the revenue collector for its bias and mala fide behaviour in dealing with this matter.

“…no one in the world (has) claimed ownership in the vehicle. The whole picture portrayed… that there was an investigation and that the car may have been stolen from the Durban harbour, is clearly without merit,” the lawyers said, adding “the only available evidence and claim to ownership was that of the applicant”, and their client had even attempted “to clear queries” from the Pretoria agencies.

Having paid a full purchase price for the vehicle, Auto Haus had failed to earn any income on the asset for five years and “the respondent had effectively stolen income from the applicant with its refusal to accept the best – and only evidence and claim – to ownership in the vehicle”, they added.

“To invite the applicant on the one hand… and proceed with the sale of the vehicle is not reasonable either, and neither does it reflect fair process. The applicant only obtained knowledge of the sale on 06 March 2015, thereby realising that the respondent (had)… closed the door on the matter…,” Grove said.

“The procedural fairness by the respondent is also disputed. The respondent unilaterally decided on the presentation of specified documents as so-called proof of ownership. In so deciding, the applicant ignored the proof that was presented as well as the fact that this represents the only claim. The approach is at best, arbitrary,” the hard-hitting affidavit said.

Furthermore, Buyanga’s corner vowed that it would “dispute the respondent’s jurisdiction to deal with the vehicle as a further point to nullify” SARS’s actions and as it “was never imported into SA”, but destined for Zimbabwe.

“By retaining the vehicle in SA… further deprives the Zimbabwean authorities of import taxes… on the actual import of the vehicle into that country,” it said.

Despite the ordeal, Buyanga was even prepared for a compromise based on Auto Haus paying any applicable duties, penalties or charges connected to the detention of the coveted marquee and any other conditions that SARS may have wanted.

And at the height of the bruising battle, SAPS officers even claimed they could not access Buyanga as he was under armed guard.

But as the saga came to an interesting halt, the 34 year-old businessman has been seen being driven in the expensive sedan on Harare’s streets for over a month now.

While Buyanga has “mysteriously managed to lay his hands on the auctioned car” and has been driving it in Zimbabwe for about two months now, the development is likely to embarrass many in SA, especially given that it was disposed barely 120 days ago.
Source: dailynews.

photo-APPARITIONAL… The controversial Rolls Royce Ghost owned by businessman Frank Buyanga and parked at his Cell Funeral Assurance offices along new hearses in Harare’s Herbert Chitepo Street. source-bulawayo24

Matebeleland, Bulilima villagers assault tribalists, who harassed Shona speaking villagers

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TWO notorious villagers from Bulilima who were recently embarrassed by community members for harassing Shona-speaking villagers have been each sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.

Obvious Ncube (34) and Shalen Dumani (23) of Zuzaphi area attacked villagers who were at a business centre in protest over Shona-speaking people in the area.

They also damaged property at a local businessman’s shop after accusing him of employing a Shona person as his shopkeeper.

Disgruntled community members then stripped them naked, assaulted them and paraded them.

Ncube and Dumani were convicted of assault and malicious damage to property charges by Plumtree magistrate Mr Livard Philemon.

They were each sentenced to 15 months imprisonment of which three months were suspended for five years on condition that they do not within the period commit an offence of the same nature.

Three more months were further suspended on condition of restitution.

Speaking in court, Dennis Muvuri who is employed as a shopkeeper at Zuzaphi business centre said the pair arrived at the bottle store and demanded to know why there were Shona people in the community.

“They picked up stones and they started to beat up people who were in the bottle store who comprised teachers and community members, accusing them of being Shona.

“They also damaged property that was in the bottle store Your Worship and demanded all Shona people to leave the community,” he said.

When both men appeared before the court on initial remand recently they revealed that villagers first removed their clothes and left them in their underwear and went on to assault them.

They said they were then force marched around the community with villagers ordering them to apologise for being a menace.

Prosecuting, Mr Clemence Shawarira said Dumani and Ncube assaulted Never Sibanda (58) on 5 June at around 8pm after they found him seated with Shona-speaking people.

He said they went on to smash empty beer bottles against the wall.

Mr Shawarira said Sibanda told the two men to mind their own business and this did not go down well with them.

“Dumani and Ncube started throwing empty beer bottles around the bottle store and they were reprimanded by the owner of the bottle store.

“In a bid to avoid further confrontations the complainant left the bottle store to collect his bicycle,” said Mr Shawarira.

He said Dumani and Ncube ambushed Sibanda and they struck him several times with a log on his head and body.

He said the complainant sustained a fractured arm and severe injuries on his body as a result of the attack.

Mr Shawarira said Dumani and Ncube fled from the scene but they were later arrested.

He said the value of damaged property at the shop is $600.

The pair destroyed 48 beer bottles, a zinc roller door, 16 plastic chairs and two empty crates. Source: sundaynews by Sukulwenkosi Dube

Chief Zimunya says Chinese firm, ‘Anjin Investment’ took bones of Zimunya & Marange people, away.

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MUTARE: Chief Zimunya from Manicaland province attacked top politicians Friday whom he said were colluding with the Chinese to violate people’s rights in the Marange area.

Chief Zimunya was addressing the Manicaland Provincial Alternative Indaba 2015 which was convened by Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA).

He said politicians despise traditional leaders and hence they pass them on important issues such as diamond mining.

The livid chief said an example of this was on the issue of the Chinese mining firm, Anjin Investment, which he said packed human bones into sacks and took them an unknown destination when they started mining in the area.

He said the Chinese excavators left some human bones uncovered and this has angered ancestral spirits and the community at large.

“There is one thing I am not happy about when we talk of mining in Marange. That is the issue of the bones of our ancestors and relatives which were taken by Chinese miners,” said the chief.

“Where did they take the bones to? These are bones of Zimunya and Marange people. There were no rituals which were carried out to address this matter”.

According to human rights groups, close to 400 people were killed in the diamond rich area when government launched a crackdown code named Operation Hakudzokwi (No Return) which was meant to flush out illegal miners.

Chief Zimunya said he was bitter that some top government officials were pretending not to be versed on African tradition, preferring to collude with the Chinese instead of reining them in.

“We have top government officials who try to pretend as if they don’t know much about our culture.

“They work with the Chinese but they don’t reprimand them when they (Chinese) violate our culture.

“The politicians are only interested in lining their pockets while our cultural and social rights are violated. Why can’t they teach them (Chinese) about our culture?” said Chief Zimunya.

He pleaded with ZELA to help the local community to sue the Chinese for taking bones of the deceased people to an unknown destination without proper consultation.

“Our ancestors are so angry about what happened in Marange. That`s why things are not going on well in Marange. Things were not done properly from the start. by Manicaland Correspondent. source-newzimbabwe

photo-Mugabe with the Chinese who are said to be looting diamonds from Marange -nehandaradio.

AIPPA law- ‘ Journalist sentenced to 1yr in prison for publishing a newspaper without gvt registration’

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A ZIMBABWEAN journalist has been sentenced to a year in jail for publishing a newspaper without government registration, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) said Friday.

Foster Dongozi, ZUJ secretary-general, said Patrick Chitongo was convicted by a magistrate’s court on Thursday and received a one-year prison sentence.

“It’s a sad day for press freedom when people are jailed for disseminating information,” Dongozi told AFP.

“However, we advise that, much as we disagree with the law which compels journalists to register, those intending to practise or publish should comply to avoid ending up in dicey situations.”

Regional media freedom advocacy group, the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA), said Chitongo had been jointly charged with three interns after publishing three issues of a newspaper called The Southern Mirror.

They were charged with breaching the country’s media laws, which forbid “carrying on or operating a mass media service without a valid registration certificate.”

Chitongo’s co-accused were acquitted after the court found that they were college students who did not have a say in the paper’s publication.

Chitongo denied the charges, saying the publications were dummies he intended to hand in to the media commission for registration.

Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, journalists have to register annually with a government-appointed commission and publishers need to have a registration certificate. by AFP. source-newzimbabwe

Harare Town Clerk, Tendai Mahachi, hides in toilet from angry women vendors

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CHAOTIC scenes characterised Harare City council officials’ bid on Friday to register thousands of vendors dotted around the capital ahead of a planned relocation to “designated vending sites”.

Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi was forced to seek refuge in a council toilet after angry women vendors confronted him over accusations of nepotism.

Violence broke out with the women joined by other vendors to bring down a hastily erected marquee before Mahachi scurried for cover.

“You are all corrupt, bringing people from Mupedzanhamo (a market in Mbare) into town when there are people who have operated in this area for seven years,” shouted one woman.

A rattled Mahachi later told journalists it was the act of “elements bent on disrupting the people’s programme” but promised to investigate the matter.

“If you go around the city you will realise that people are registering smoothly; everything started well but there are elements trying to stop the whole process,” a visibly ruffled Mahachi said.

“We will bring people to protect the officials doing work here so that they continue.

“We will try to have everyone registered and the accusations they are making here will also be investigated. But if they remain unregistered then let the law take its course”.

While claiming he was not “angry (becaause) these are our people and we need to empower them”, Mahachi said he was looking critically into the issue.

“Council knows how many people are going to be accommodated and we will bring other people into designated spots from other illegal areas,” he said but insisted unnamed “elements” were out to disrupt progress.

However, for some vendors it was business as usual in the streets of Harare as they went about selling their wares despite a government ultimatum to vacate the city centre by June 26.

Government had initially given the vendors a seven-day ultimatum amid a still-borne threat to use the army to drive the informal traders off the streets.

Human rights groups and the opposition approached the High Court, accusing the government of trying to illegally bring the army into a civil matter, forcing an immediate climb-down by the administration

Defence Minister Sidney Sekeramayi then declared the military would not take part in the vendors’ removal adding officials would have to consult the police if the need arose. source-newzimbabwe

photo-Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi-nehandaradio

60yrs on, Rio Tinto Plc sells diamond & coal mining assets to RZ Murowa Holdings, & withdraws

GLOBAL giant Rio Tinto Plc on Friday announced the sale of its diamond and coal mining assets in Zimbabwe to RZ Murowa Holdings, marking the withdrawal of one the world’s iconic mining firms from the country after a 60 year presence.

Before the announcement, Rio owned 78 percent of the Murowa diamond mine in central Zimbabwe and 50 percent of the undeveloped Sengwa coal project. Rio’s Zimbabwean spin-off, RioZim, owns 22 percent of Murowa and 50 percent of Sengwa.

Sengwa, with an estimated coal resource of 1,3 billion tonnes, is the site of a planned 2,000 megawatt thermal power station – enough to meet Zimbabwe’s current peak electricity demand. Murowa is a world-class diamond miner, churning out 300,000 carats annually.

Zimbabwe’s government has, however, announced plans to nationalize all diamond mining, including Murowa.

Details of RZ Murowa Holdings are unclear, but a statement issued by Rio suggests it is an entity controlled by the Zimbabwean-listed RioZim, whose largest shareholders are Harpal Randhawa’s GEM (24 percent) and Old Mutual, with 11 percent shareholding.

“Rio Tinto has completed the sale of its 78 per cent interest in Murowa Diamonds and 50 per cent interest in Sengwa Colliery Ltd (Sengwa) to RZ Murowa Holdings Limited.

RioZim Limited, an independent Zimbabwean mining company listed on the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange already holds a 22 per cent interest in Murowa Diamonds and a 50 per cent interest in Sengwa and will assume the overall management of both entities,” Rio announced.

“Rio Tinto believes that the future of these assets can be best managed by entities with existing interests in Zimbabwe.”

Rio Tinto Diamonds and Minerals chief executive Alan Davies said the firm remains committed to the diamond industry and is focused on operating its two world-class underground mines whilst obtaining the approvals for its advanced diamond project in India.source-newzimbabwe

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