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Zanu PF activist’s alleged sponsor exposed

CONTROVERSIAL Gold Leaf Tobacco co-founder, Simon Rudland, is in the eye of a storm following claims that he is allegedly financing Zanu PF activist, Rutendo Matinyarare’s campaign against manufacturer of consumer staple and durable goods group, INNSCOR and its founder Zinona “Zed” Koudounaris.

Matinyarare’s erstwhile lawyer, Simba Chitando’s explosive affidavit, filed in a South African court in support of a criminal complaint against the Zanu PF activist, has exposed alleged details of Rudland’s financial hand targeted at bringing down INNSCOR and Zed.

In his affidavit, Chitando, who was Matinyarare’s lawyer in the fight against INNSCOR, said the activist had committed perjury and obstructed the administration of justice.

“I depose this affidavit in support of a criminal complaint against Mr Rutendo Benson Matinyarare, South African identity number: 760609 61118 184, Zimbabwean passport number: EN402240, (hereinafter called Matinyarare, alternatively, the first respondent),” part of Chitando’s affidavit read.

“Matinyarare has committed the offence of perjury and obstructed the administration of justice in his 6 May 2024 affidavit in contempt of court proceedings against him before the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court under Case Number: 131956/2023.”

Matinyarare has launched a spirited campaign on microblogging sites, X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, against Zed and INNSCOR alleging that the group was involved in “food imperialism” by producing GMO foods for the Zimbabwean and regional markets. He contends that evidence from “labs” has corroborated his theories.

However, Matinyarare has so far lost battles in court and has been forced to take down the offending posts from the two sites.

A fallout with his lawyer, Chitando, has opened a can of worms in which Rudland’s name features in several WhatsApp messages between the two.

In the messages, Matinyarare boasts of Rudland’s alleged cash injections towards the court cases against INNSCOR.

Also, in the WhatsApp messages, Matinyarare claimed that Rudland was overseeing drafting of court papers with the help of his lawyers as he was not happy with Chitando and his team.

In one message, Matinyarare made reference to Rudland’s alleged desire to have “Zed cornered”.

“He (Rudland) feels that by now, we should have put Zed in a corner with the evidence we have. He has set aside something for us and was supposed to have released it two weeks ago and then he came up with this,” Matinyarare wrote to his lawyer.

Matinyarare forwarded another message to the lawyer in which he said: “That’s from Simon. He’s in this with another two people that are watching this very keenly.”

The message highlighted as having come from Rudland to Matinyarare read: “I hope this message finds you well. We’re closely monitoring your case and are eager to assist you.

“However, I do have a concern regarding the competency of your current legal team.

“We’ve observed two instances where default judgments were issued against you due to their failure to attend court hearings. This raises doubts about their effectiveness.

“Before allocating any resources, we need to see outcomes or victories that show that your legal representation is capable.

“It would be beneficial if you could also provide a comprehensive report detailing the case’s progression from its inception to the present. This will allow our team to assess the situation thoroughly.”

In January this year, the Johannesburg High Court forced Matinyarare to pull down his defamatory posts that included videos in which he accused INNSCOR of destroying the taste of Zimbabwean food.

Rudland, one of Zimbabwe’s richest men and co-owns Gold Leaf Tobacco, was in 2022 accused by the South African Revenue Service of selling illicit cigarettes and evading taxes.

An investigation by Al Jazeera named Rudland as one of the alleged kingpins in gold smuggling from Zimbabwe in a “web of crime (that) extends far beyond that, to an elaborate money laundering and gold smuggling scheme that helps him hide millions of dollars of unaccounted cash”.

Matinyarare’s then lawyer, Chitando, said their fallout was also necessitated by the outspoken activist’s penchant for 16-year-old girls.

Matinyarare has tried to justify his sexual intimacy with young girls posting on his X account on April 28, 2024 saying: “Young women who are sexually emancipated to have sex have a right to choose who they sleep with, without anyone trying to police their bodies and choices. Who are you to dictate who young women can sleep with?”

“These words are chilling, especially to the parents of 16-year-old girls. There are several other posts and video clips, which I have (and) do not wish to repeat, where Matinyarare doubles down on these appalling statements. A copy of Matinyarare’s publication is attached marked: ‘SC3’,” Chitando said in the affidavit.

“I do not share Matinyarare’s views regarding the age of sexual consent. In my view, a 16-year-old is a child, and ought to be protected from middle-aged sexual predators who share the same sick ideas as Matinyarare.

“Had I known about them, which I did not when ZASM was formed, I would not have become a director in the same organisation as him.

“The fact that he believes that all his views are that of ZASM, where I am a director and appear on the website along with him, is a fact of serious concern.

“The first respondent has irreparably damaged the reputation of ZASM.

“His reprehensible statements glorifying the abuse of 16-year-old girls, on a ZASM logo, are entrenched in the minds of the public.

“Under the circumstances, the first respondent, by his own hand, has suppressed any hope that the organisation can embark on any beneficial activities for the public.”

Source | NewsDay


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