JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — A Zimbabwean businessman Justice Maphosa, who helped stranded veteran politician Emmerson Mnangagwa last November when he fled the country and sought refuge in neighboring Mozambique after he was sacked by then president Robert Mugabe for allegedly undermining him, is claiming that some people want to eliminate him for rescuing Mnangagwa.
Maphosa claims that they are not comfortable with his close links to the president of Zimbabwe.
The South African-based businessman was hardly known until his act of brotherhood to ‘rescue’ Mnangagwa, who worked with Mugabe for many years during and after Zimbabwe armed liberation struggle.
Mnangagwa illegally crossed the border at night and landed in Mozambique with a few bodyguards, who are said to have blocked attempts by Zimbabwean state security agents from arresting the fleeing vice president and his entourage.
The multi-millionaire, who describes himself as a non-corruptible God-fearing businessman, says when he sent his private jet to pick up Mnangagwa, it was an act of kindness.
Maphosa claims that Mnangagwa phoned him seeking help while he was still in Zimbabwe.
“Come that day I get a call from him … ‘Maphosa I am in a situation. I have been fired. My life is in danger. I need to get out of the country. My first call was, where are you? Where are you going? Where will you be in 2 hours, in 4 hours in 6 hours?’ … Which he told me and we went to pick him up and we brought him into the country.”
However, he said now there are people who want to eliminate him due to his close links to the president and his act of kindness.
“I’m sure you can see from my security detail … You can see how many security people I am with and you can see how many security people I travel with … There are people that seem to say we are going to disturb their businesses and people are fighting us.”
Maphosa says in addition to several threats he has received and attempts on his life, his enemies have also embarked on a campaign to destroy his business empire in South Africa by making false allegations of corruption against him.
On this, he says, he has being questioned by South Africa’s elite crime investigating unit, the Hawks, which has since cleared his name.
“Why am I not being arrested if there is a case to answer. Surely we are a law abiding country. If I have done anything wrong I should be arrested and I should be taken to court to be tried. It is a narrative and an effort of my detractors that say ‘we don’t want him to achieve this. We don’t want him to do this.’”
According to the Mail and Guardian newspaper, Maphosa is being investigated by the Hawks for allegedly committing a multimillion-rand fraud in the North West.
Justice Maphosa, 43, was born in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, where he did part of his education before proceeding to South Africa. He did computer studies with a bias on Information Communication Technology.
In 1998, together with a friend, he launched his first company the Computer Inc. and Media Solutions, whose core business was to recycle computer ink cartridges. Today he is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Big Time Strategic Group, with 17 subsidiaries across Southern Africa.
Maphosa says through these companies, they have made doing business easy and cheaper in various sectors that include aviation, agriculture, banking, finance, health, tourism and entertainment, among others.
He says he is a testimony of a man who rose from rags to riches all through hard work and sacrifice, making himself a multi-millionaire in the process.
Despite the threats on his life and his business, Maphosa says he is in the process of launching nine companies in Zimbabwe. – VOA