Simon Rudland

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Simon Rudland
Simon Rudland Biography
BornSimon George Wilburn Rudland
Known forBeing a businessman
ChildrenSarah, Hannah, Emma

Simon George Wilburn Rudland is a Zimbabwean businessman with interests in logistics, agriculture and finance. Rudland is the co-owner of Gold Leaf Tobacco Zimbabwe and a member of the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA). he also has interests in Pioneer Transport.


Simon Rudland has a brother named Hamish.[1]


Rudland has three children from a previous marriage. The children are; Sarah, Hannah born on 10 April 1994 and the youngest Emma Rudland. [2]


Simon Rudland and Leigh-Ann Patricia Schoeman got married in Harare on September 3, 1992, according to the [[Marriage Act, [Chapter 5:11]]. However, on November 19, 2014, Schoeman filed a lawsuit against Rudland, seeking a divorce and other related concessions. She alleged that the marriage had irreversibly broken down due to Rudland's desertion, physical and mental cruelty towards her, refusal to cohabit with her, assault, denial of paternity of their child, and involvement in illegal business activities.

Schoeman also mentioned that they had not lived together for more than 30 months and that Rudland had started dating someone else. As part of the divorce settlement, Schoeman was granted custody of their child Emma, and two big houses in Harare's Borrowdale and Morningside, Johannesburg in South Africa, a 50 percent share in Glenbeach Investments (which owns another property). Rudland was ordered to pay US$5 million. Rudland agreed to take care of their minor child.[2]


From being a mechanic at Delta Beverages, Rudland went on to build entities like Pioneer Corporation Africa (PCA) better known as Pioneer Transport from about 1995 – which incorporated Swift, Bulwark, and Clan – with his brother Hamish, who sat on the Zimre Holdings (Zimre) board.

A decade later, he subsequently launched the R&G cigarette brand, which later morphed into Rudland & George after a bruising legal battle with Cut Rag Processors (CRP) and Tonbridge Assets Limited, the Swiss owner of Remington Gold (RG), which he went on to acquire in early to mid-2017.

Later, he founded Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation (GLTC) which he co-owns with Yakub Mahomed.[3]

From then on, the Rudlands have been active investors on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange after buying significant stakes in the financial and reinsurance group – via Day River Corporation – Zimplow and other assets. To demonstrate their interest in the agricultural and retail sectors, they even had a play for CFI Holdings and were within grasp of taking control of stricken South African sugar producer Tongaat-Hulett through Mauritian-based Magister.[1]

Along the way, the Rudlands have even locked horns with Nicholas van Hoogstraten, another investor, over CFI. They were engaged in a series of well-documented legal clashes running back to about 2015-2018. But from their Zimbabwean roots and base, they have grown GLTC and other businesses in the portfolio into global enterprises operating in Botswana, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indian Ocean islands, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and Zambia. As the empire continues to expand, Simon and his family are building a US$120 million-plus tobacco processing plant in Harare’s Aspindale industrial area.


Hence, as his stock and fortunes – spanning mining, construction, logistics, general manufacturing, energy and commodity trading – have continued to rise, his investments are reportedly worth a billion American dollars.[4]

Assassination Attempt

On 14 August 2019, Rudland was seriously injured when two men shot at him outside FITA's offices in South Africa. Simon Rudland was hospitalised and kept in intensive care. [5]
He was ambushed by a gunman who fired nine shots at him when he pulled his black Porsche Boxster into the driveway of the FITA offices in Oaklands, Johannesburg, South Africa. The shooter and an accomplice had been waiting in a white VW Golf in a street adjacent to FITA’s offices.

Three bullets struck Simon Rudland – two in his back and one in his neck, after it went through the headrest, missing his spine by 1mm. Although Rudland had not received any direct death threats, he said he was not entirely surprised by the assassination attempt. [6]

Jonathan Schoeman was arraigned before the South African courts facing a variety of charges, including murder and attempted murder. The alleged mastermind of the failed assassination attempt Sebastian Groenewald – a former special forces police officer – was killed. [7]

In October 2021, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) withdrew charges against Jonathan Schoeman. Weeks before Schoeman was to be indicted, the NPA withdrew charges relating to the assassination attempt on Simon Rudland, and the bloody slaying of Johannesburg businessman Shuaib Dowjee. [8]

Legal Cases & RG Brand Name

In March 2006, the South African crime-fighting unit called the Scorpions raided Mavambo, which was a transport company and subsidiary of Rudland's PCA. They had arrest warrants for Mahomed, Rudland, and Ebrahim Adamjee, a South African. According to an affidavit, Mahomed was accused of running two cigarette manufacturing plants, Gold Leaf and Sahawi, that allegedly sold cigarettes without paying VAT or excise duty. Adamjee was said to handle the cash from these illegal sales. Part of the money was allegedly laundered through Mavambo and other accounts controlled by Rudland, who was also allegedly involved in smuggling Sahawi cigarettes. However, the investigation didn't lead to any significant outcome because the warrants were challenged in the Supreme Court of Appeal. Eventually, the case was formally dropped.[3]

In 2016, the new GLTC (Great Limpopo Tobacco Company) had a difficult conflict with Savanna Tobacco, a Zimbabwean company that owned the trademark and manufactured cigarettes.[5][9] This dispute was resolved when GLTC acquired the well-liked trans-Limpopo brand from Savanna Tobacco. As a result, this acquisition led to the creation and success of the RG and Rudland & George cigarette brands, according to analysts.[10][10]

Illegal Property Transfer Accusation

In June 2020, High Court Judge Happias Zhou cleared Simon Rudland of misconduct allegations. Rudland was accused of illegally transferring four properties that were given as collateral from Downtown Petroleum owner, Future Muvirimi, whom he had helped finance his businesses 10 years back.
Muvirimi tried to reverse the transfer of the properties and claimed that Rudland owed him $255,000 in damages. However, Rudland provided evidence in court showing that the properties were transferred according to their agreement. Muvirimi also accused Rudland of failing to provide a $1 million loan, but Rudland proved that the loan was indeed given.[11]

Football Sponsorship

In 2019, Rudland made a deal to sponsor Dynamos Football Club with $5 million through his R&G cigarette brand. The sponsorship package was worth RTGS$1 million a year for five years and was subject to an increase in financial outlay. However, the five-year deal did not go far because of ongoing chaos, conflicts over ownership, and troubles that have negatively impacted the performance of the popular Zimbabwean club on the field. [4]

He also had involvement with Nyasa Manufacturing’s Nyasa Big Bullets in Malawi, a team coached by former Zimbabwean and Callisto Pasuwa and known for winning championships.

Gold Mafia

In April 2023, Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based news broadcaster, released a documentary titled Gold Mafia accusing Rudland, along with several Zimbabwean traders, of being part of an international network of gold smugglers that defrauded governments and avoided paying taxes. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Financial Intelligence Unit froze the accounts of various individuals involved, including Rudland, Uebert Angel, his in-law Ewan McMillan, Kamlesh Pattni, Cleopas Chidodo, David Chirozvi, Mehlululi Dube, and Fredrick Kunaka.[12]

Rudland maintained his innocence throughout the entire ordeal and has even threatened to sue Al Jazeera. After thorough investigations, RBZ's Financial Intelligence Unit cleared him of any wrongdoing.[13]


Despite the controversies and colourful history surrounding him, Rudland has shown philanthropic efforts by helping and mentoring local businesspeople. He has also supported underprivileged children through his daughters' charity organisation, providing them with school fees, clothes, and shelter.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rudland paid public sector doctors and other medical personnel, which went a long way to avert a full-scale disaster exacerbated by endless strikes or job actions.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Zim’s Wealthy Rudland Family Set To Take Over Tongaat Hulett,, Published: November 18, 2021, Retrieved: January 24, 2022
  2. 2.0 2.1 LEIGH-ANN PATRICIA RUDLAND (nee SCHOEMAN) versus SIMON GEORGE WILBURN RUDLAND, JSC, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tobacco Wars: Simon Rudland’s empire in Zimbabwe, The Zimbabwean, Published: August 16, 2019, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  4. 4.0 4.1 Robson Sharuko, DeMbare sponsor shot in South Africa, The Herald, Published: August 2019, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  5. 5.0 5.1 Riaan Grobler, Attempted hit: Tobacco boss Simon Rudland kingpin of the ‘cheapies’, News23, Published: August 15, 2019, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  6. Mandy Wiener, Hits, threats and secret ops – behind the Simon Rudland attempted hit, Citizen, Published: August 17, 2019, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  7. Net closing in on Rudland assailants, Zimbabwe Situation, Published: December 9, 2020, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  8. Jeff Wicks, Blood Brothers: Shock as NPA withdraws charges against alleged tobacco assassin, News24, Published: October 16, 2021, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  9. Rudland loses cigar battle, The Herald, Published: September 16, 2016, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  10. 10.0 10.1 [1], News24, Published: August 15, 2019, Retrieved: January 25, 2022
  11. Mathew Masinge, High Court clears Rud­land, Press Reader, Published: June 22, 2020, Retrieved: January 25, 2020
  12. [2], The Herald, Published: 7 April 2023, Retrieved: 7 April 2023
  13. [3], Pindula News, Published: 15 May 2023, Retrieved: 15 May 2023

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