Zimbabwean-born South African businessman Narrates His Difficult Journey To Zambia
Zimbabwean-born South African businessman Sikhumbuzo Manduna has shared the challenges he faced while traveling from Zimbabwe to Zambia.
Manduna, who was driving his Ford Ranger, had obtained all the necessary documents to travel through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Zambia. However, when he reached the border at Chirundu, he faced extensive questioning from a border official who suspected the car might be stolen. After a three-hour wait, the official called the police from Lusaka, who arrived and arrested Manduna.
He said despite providing all the required paperwork, including proof of purchase through Capitec Bank, insurance records, and company details, the police refused to release him. Interpol was even involved, confirming that the car was not stolen. Manduna was detained for a total of seven days, during which he believed that the police were seeking a bribe. Despite his attempts to cooperate and provide all necessary evidence, the release of his car was delayed.
Manduna said he embarked on a business trip from Johannesburg to Zimbabwe and then to Zambia, driving his Ford Ranger purchased through Capitec Bank. He had all the necessary documents and permission to travel across multiple countries. However, at the Chirundu border, the border official subjected him to extensive questioning about the car’s ownership and potential theft. After a three-hour wait, Manduna was called into the office only to face another ordeal—finding out that the official had called the police from Lusaka during that time to detain him. He narrated:
As we were arguing on the issue after I had presented my passport, car documents, bank papers, insurance records and company details since the vehicle was registered under my company, police arrived in style with blue lights in a Madza BT50; five police officers, three armed with AK-47 assault rifles. The customs officer pointed at me and said that is the guy claiming to be the car owner. I was shocked by what subsequently followed. Police pounced on me and said I was under arrest. I demanded that on top of the papers I had presented, I should be allowed to call my insurance firm and the agent I deal with, which I did. The insurance explained that the car was legitimately bought through Capitec and they had all the papers, which they were ready to send to the border officials if needs be. All that was rejected.
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Police then told me they were now taking me to Lusaka to deal with the matter because they suspected the car was stolen even when all documents showed that assumption was false. They drove me in their car as they refused me to even sit in my own car. When we got to Lusaka Central Police Station, I was told the boss named Chomba wanted to see me but it could only be the following day which meant I had to be detained in cells, which they did. I was removed from the cells the following day to see the said boss around 9:30am.
Upon his arrival, he was confrontational; he seized my car keys and the car itself, demanding that I should prove the vehicle was mine. I was told the arresting officer was Detective Constable Mthengwa. So we had to restart the process of providing documents all over again. I gave them all the documents, called my insurance firm and showed them emails between the bank and myself, proving that the car was bought through the bank which had to approve my driving of the vehicle outside South Africa into Zimbabwe, then Zambia.
Interpol was also brought into the fray. On Monday, 28 August, Captain Pieter De Villiers sent an email to Lusaka Central Police Station saying the car was not stolen. Remember I had been in detention for five days at that point without a charge. Arbitrary detention. Just imagine the pressure and anger.
De Villiers urgently informed the Lusaka police that Manduna had been arrested for allegedly possessing a stolen car. He provided the details of the Ford Ranger and confirmed that it was not reported as stolen in South Africa. De Villiers requested the Zambian police to help Manduna retrieve his car, stating that it was owned by Capitec, and the bank had approved its use outside South Africa during the specified dates.
The car involved in the incident is registered under Manduna’s company, Andiswa Phakade (Pty) Ltd, with an address in Johannesburg. Despite providing all necessary documents, including support from his insurance company and Interpol, Zambian police detained Manduna for seven days. Manduna believed that the police were demanding a bribe, as their behavior suggested. He provided extensive documentation, such as his passport, ID, driver’s license, vehicle registration papers, and a letter of authority from the bank. Despite all evidence proving the legitimacy of the car, the police continued to detain him.