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Malunga farm invader's car 'likely smuggled' - report

by Staff reporter
21 Jul 2021 at 09:44hrs | Views
A National University of Science and Technology (NUST) lecturer accused of trying to grab a Nyamandlovu farm may be driving a stolen car, ZimLive reported.

Dumisani Madzivanyathi stormed Esidakeni Estate in Umguza, Matabeleland North, on July 7 claiming ownership of a section of the 550-hectare farm owned by a company registered to NUST scientist Zephaniah Dhlamini, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) executive director Sipho Malunga and miner, Charles Moyo.

Madzivanyathi, of Goldsmith Road in Malindela, Bulawayo, drove across a ready-to-plant field at the farm in a grey Mazda BT50 with the registration AFC 1739. The vehicle was not displaying any insurance or road tax discs, as required by law.

Madzivanyathi, who later claimed he was assaulted by unnamed individuals, drove off in a huff after pictures of the vehicle were taken. When he reported the alleged assault at a police post in nearby Benice, several hours later, he was now driving a Honda Fit after apparently ditching the BT50.

The NUST lecturer came to ZimLive's attention in June after an anonymous internet whistleblower claimed that he was dealing in stolen vehicles, which are allegedly smuggled into the country and then given false registration plates. We have not been able to verify those allegations.

Our investigation has established, however, from two vehicle databases that Madzivanyathi's Madza BT50 is currently not insured and has no valid road tax certificate.

Driving from Bulawayo to Esidakeni Estate, one passes through a Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) tollgate. Vehicles without valid road tax are not permitted to drive through tollgates, and it remains unclear how Madzivanyathi was allowed past.

A search of the insurance database yielded no result for AFC 1739. The central vehicle register maintained by ZINARA – which is also accessible to the police and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority – however turned up a surprising result.

Madzivanyathi's number plate, according to our findings, is not for a BT50 but a Mazda 323, beige in colour, which was manufactured in 1989. The last insurance on the vehicle expired in 2018.

Mazda, a Japanese car maker, did not manufacture BT50s until 2006.

The Madza 323, according to the central vehicle registry data, previously carried the registration AAI0743. It is not clear when it changed its tag, which normally happens when the vehicle exchanges owners.

We tracked down the registered owner of the Mazda 323 to Mutare. Francis Matinyarare said he sold the vehicle to a car dealership in Harare in the late 1990s.

"I think the car dealership was called Mike's Car Sales or something like that on Seke Road in Harare. I signed an affidavit and left after the dealership owner promised he would change the registration information. I was pressed for cash when I sold it, sadly I never recovered and I've been a pedestrian ever since," Matinyarare said.

He has not seen the vehicle after selling it, and given the years, he believes it has seen its better days or has probably been scrapped.

The discovery could suggest that vehicles improperly acquired or imported illegally are being given false number plates of old, non-running vehicles.

Asked if it was normal for two vehicles to share a number plate, a senior police detective said: "No, it's not normal. We call these vehicles chindete in Harare, which is slang for stolen cars. They are typically vehicles stolen in South Africa and smuggled into the country.

"Some are sold locally after being illegally registered, or driven to Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and sold there. My hunch is that the vehicle you are dealing with was more than likely smuggled."

Madzivanyathi did not answer calls, and declined to answer written questions left on his WhatsApp. ZimLive instead heard from one of his associates, who wrote: "He denies knowledge of that car, and he said he can't respond to you."

The head of NUST's accounting department and a close friend of Matabeleland North minister Richard Moyo, Madzivanyika was seen being driven in a taxi with two bodyguards over the weekend.

His neighbours said they last saw the BT50 being driven by his wife. There were no vehicles in the driveway when our reporter visited his house on July 19.

A Twitter whistleblower, using the name Snitch, claimed Madzivanyathi "drove his stolen cars to Tanzania" after they started posting about his alleged vehicle fraud. ZimLive has not been able to independently verify the claims.

Currently running the East 68 Pub & Grill in Matsheumhlope, Madzivanyathi has taken down his Facebook page which showed him standing next to different types of vehicles, including a maroon Toyota Land Cruiser V8, a black Mercedes Benz, a white Toyota Hilux and a vintage Land Cruiser 70 Series. All the vehicles had their number plates concealed.

In 2017, Madzivanyathi was accused of pulling a gun on a man who peed next to his vehicle.

A year ago, during a visit to Matabeleland North, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was gifted a bull by Madzivanyathi, who was then looking for land in the province.

In May this year, resident minister Moyo ordered officials in the lands ministry to settle Madzivanyathi and about 13 others – including Central Intelligence Organisation agents – at Esidakeni Estate.

Last week, Madzivanyathi sought an order at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court for the eviction of Dhlamini, Malunga and Moyo, who are shareholders in a company called Kershelmar Farms, which owns Esidakeni.

Dhlamini said they would fight the application. Their legal team would separately apply to the High Court to nullify the gazetting of the farm by the lands minister, he added.

Source - zimlive
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