FORMER deputy minister and newly-elected Zanu PF Women’s League secretary for security Shuvai Mahofa continues to defy President Robert Mugabe’s directive to leave the Save Conservancy which she invaded seven years ago, amid allegations she has been implicated in poaching activities, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
Mahofa, who along with many other party heavyweights invaded the world-famous private wildlife sanctuary owned by local and foreign individuals, has stuck to her guns despite two politburo directives to vacate the properties.
Mahofa’s occupation of the 5 526-hectare Savuli Ranch in the conservancy is based on a government offer letter she received in 2007 and was confirmed on April 5 2012 by the Masvingo Provincial Magistrates’ Court which ruled against three conservancy operators, Terry Anders, John Taylor and Grant Hudson.
The trio had challenged their eviction before then provincial magistrate Jabulani Mzinyathi.
However, the politburo ordered the withdrawal of the offer letters and that party bigwigs should vacate the properties. The politburo orders were made first in September 2012 and then in May this year.
The politburo ordered Mahofa and senior party and military officers out, with Mugabe describing the property seizures as an act of “greed” while the invaders claimed they were implementing what they called wildlife-based land reform meant to benefit previously disadvantaged black people.
“Other than one property called Savuli, no other is invaded by politicians or those claiming to be,” said Wilfried Pabst, a German investor who is also vice-chairperson of the conservancy.
“Savuli is occupied by Ms Mahofa … She fostered poaching and bush meat trade at a serious rate including endangered species and has not been removed even though politicians said she would.”
“Poaching other than by Mahofa is under control in particular as we have a serious crack scout troop with National Parks and Support Unit protecting the rhinos and which has a positive fall out in favour of other species as well. But Ms Mahofa operating on the periphery of the SVC seems to be getting away with murder,” Pabst added.
Mahofa refused to comment on the matter and referred all questions to Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
“I cannot comment. Ask the minister (Kasukuwere), thank you,” she said before hanging up on Wednesday morning.
The property owners said they had tried all channels to have Mahofa removed but to no avail.
“We have engaged at all levels of government from cabinet to National Parks, provincial leadership and the chiefs in our neighbourhood,” Pabst said.
Kasukuwere insisted that Mahofa had won the right to remain at Savuli in the courts.
“It is the only property she has and she won the right to remain there in court,” said Kasukuwere.
Commenting on Mahofa’s alleged poaching activities, Kasukuwere challenged anyone with concrete evidence to present it to law enforcement authorities so that they could act.