South Africa-based Zimbabwean business mogul and Big Strategic Group boss Justice Maphosa, who has of late been in trouble over citizenship and tax fraud issues, is set to make massive investments across many sectors of the local economy worth multi-millions, the businessdigest has learnt.
By Nyasha Chingono
Maphosa, who sheltered President Emmerson Mnangagwa after fleeing the country in November last year following his dismissal by ex-president Robert Mugabe, says the investments were first mooted three years ago.
“It is true that Big Time Strategic Group South Africa has set up a group of companies in Zimbabwe. This has been ongoing for three years now and the plans are at an advanced stage where we are now talking about the launch of these companies. The launch will be in a few months from now. We are still perfecting our technologies and setting up the required infrastructure needed to make this work,” said Maphosa.
Big Time Strategic Group is looking at investing in the financial services, agricultural, insurance services, transport and logistics and health sectors of economy.
Maphosa said his proposed investments were purely driven by patriotism and the new “Zimbabwe is open for business” thrust by Mnangagwa.
“For a start, we as a business believe in our country Zimbabwe. It is a good country. As such, we see many investment opportunities in Zimbabwe. Our country is lagging behind by so many years when it comes to infrastructural development and technology. Why must this be left to anyone else to come in at this particular time?” he said.
Maphosa said investing now would see investors reaping the rewards of early entry into the economy. He also could be looking for a safe haven in the wake of tax charges in South Africa and deportation threat.
“I am not going to be one of those watchers and moaners in the economy. We will invest in our own country. Every investment has its element of risk. And one cannot be very sure of any investment they partake in. Even our investment tools and science factors and theories we factor into these equations, do not make the investment immune to the market, social and political conditions that may shift these tectonic plates for the best or even worst. This is the nature of business. It is very unpredictable and very volatile,” he said.
Maphosa, who has been convicted of tax fraud and is paying about R1 million as a result and recently faced deportation from South Africa, says there was no need to dwell in the past.
“Yes it is true. We have had our own brushes with the law before. It is part of our learning curve. Nevertheless, this story is so old now. This is in 2010 and our accountants made a big mistake and were fired for that,” he said.
Maphosa, who describes Mnangagwa as a father, says his relationship with the 75 year old was purely professional.
“We see and view President Mnangagwa as our leader, a father figure, an elderly man, a political leader, a President on his seat driving and championing the cause for a new Zimbabwe that is thriving, working and solving its problems internally. That is how we see him. That is what our relationship with him and us as a business starts and ends,” said Maphosa.
Maphosa said Mnangagwa was a likeable character, adding that he supported his business thrust.
“Personally, l have met him as you heard him speak and tell all of you about his struggles when he was fired and ended up in diaspora. I am fond of him. He is a likable leader who never misses a moment to educate you about this and that as a young man, when you do find a moment to sit down and quiz his brain. I have no father, mine passed away, so l always take time to learn from the aged, the old and those with wisdom,” he said.
Maphosa, with business interests in property, technology, events management and agriculture, among other sectors, says investing back home provided security for his business ventures which have often come under scrutiny and threat in South Africa
With the Chinese, French, British, Germans among other economic power houses, having expressed interest in investing into the country, Maphosa is also seeking to benefit.
A source close to Maphosa told the Zimbabwe Independent that the business tycoon, who relocated to South Africa as a young man, would continue with business plans even if Mnangagwa were to lose the July 30 general elections.
But it is, however, not a coincidence that the investments will come after elections as he seeks a safe haven for his capital.