Zunaid Abbas Moti is a South African businessman.
Moti spent the majority of his life in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa. Moti says he grew up in a home where money was always tight and would wash the school bus on weekends so that he and his sister could travel the 110 km round trip to and from school daily. He comes from Mokopane, where his father ran a general dealership.
Zunaid Moti was born in 1974.
He went to St Albans College in Pretoria.
According to a biography on his personal website, Moti made over R40 million from selling shares in a business just before his 22nd birthday.
According to the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office, he owns more than 204 listed enterprises that deal with property, consulting, jewellery and mining.
- African Chrome Fields: a joint venture with Kuda Tagwirei. In 2019 there were reports that he was scaling down his Zimbabwe mining operations amid revelations that his relationship with President Emmerson Mnangagwa had soured. In an interview with Sunday Times, Moti said the toxicity of the Zimbabwe investment was affecting his other businesses. He said:
“There’s a lot of pressure out there. People ask why we’re in business in Zimbabwe. That has affected our ratings. Some people wouldn’t want to do business with us because we’re in Zimbabwe.”
By September 2019, African Chrome Fields had shut down all but one plant and retrenched hundreds of workers, with the Moti Group blaming the decision by the RBZ to re-introduce an unstable local currency.
He started FinFuture, which provided finance for people wanting to buy high-end luxury cars. In 2008, FinFuture was denied a licence to provide financial services because it failed to meet the “fit and proper” requirements.
Moti first entered into mining in South Africa through Kilken Platinum, a processing plant and joint venture with Anglo Platinum, which Moti said processes 600,000t a month. The plant is held through Andulela Holdings, a JSE-listed company of which the Moti Group is the majority shareholder.
Also under Andulela was a roofing factory in Vereeniging that could not compete with Chinese imports, so he closed it down and reopened it in Zimbabwe. Moti said he reopened the company in Zimbabwe because Emmerson Mnangagwa's government gave him a protection policy for 10 years. It meant that any rival company looking to import roofing into Zimbabwe had to pay a “duty”.
Abalengani Group Investec Debt
Moti started the diversified Abalengani group, which had subsidiary companies involved in property, consulting, jewellery and mining. But Abalengani made headlines for its bad debt.
At the end of 2009, Abalengani reached a settlement with Investec for about R1,5-billion that was owed to the bank. A deal to restructure the debt was reached. Investec was accused of fraudulently liquidating another firm to protect Abalengi’s investments.
Johannessburg Land Deal
A property deal between Abalengani group and Eildoug Investments, for several prime tracts of land, turned sour for the group when The Star revealed in May 2010 that the properties were illegally transferred from the City of Johannesburg without the consent of the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC).
Eildoug Investments sold the land to various companies, including Zamien Investments and Zambrotti Investments. Moti was a former director of both companies and one of the financiers.
The two companies bought 25 of the properties from Eildoug in a multi-million rand deal. The properties included land zoned for parks and recreation, such as a section of the Norscot Koppies and Kingfisher Nature Reserve.
Moti and the director of Zamien Investments, Salim Bobat, told The Star then that they were not aware of how Eildoug had obtained the properties.
It was understood that proper process had been followed. The companies opposed an application by the JPC to have the properties returned to the council and referred the matter to the Commercial Crimes Unit.
The City of Johannesburg filed a civil suit for the restitution of 33 properties it claimed had been fraudulently sold and then resold to Moti's Zamien Investments and Zambrotti Investments.
Plot To Assassinate Fellow Businessman
In 2011, Moti and several associates were charged in relation to a violent attack on businessperson Naeem Cassim. The charges were later dropped. In 2012, Moti had appeared in court in connection with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit murder Cassim. Even though the matter was thrown out, Moti had made an enemy of forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan.
Moti spent five months in a German jail from 2018 to 2019. In August 2018, Moti was detained in relation to an Interpol red notice, which was issued against him for the alleged theft of a rare R500-million pink diamond linked to a Russian businessman in Lebanon.
The red notice was issued as Moti and his associates were accused of allegedly defrauding Russian citizen Alibek Issaev — a former partner in their South African FerroChrome smelter business — out of R6.6-million in a bogus mining deal. The alleged fraud took place in Lebanon in 2013.
All four men denied the charges, saying their arrest warrants were obtained on falsified information. They accused Issaev of stealing the diamond from them on the pretext of having a buyer for it in Russia. International diamond dealer Sylla Moussa, in turn, accused the four of stealing the diamond from him in 2013. In August 2017, the four attempted to interdict then president Jacob Zuma to hold off on the international arrest warrant. Though Interpol had exonerated Moti in November 2018, he remained in custody until his release in January 2019.
- About Us, Moti Group, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: April 21, 2021
- Zunaid Moti - Biography, zunaidmoti.com, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: April 21, 2021
- Anel Lewis, The life of Zunaid Moti, IOL, Published: August 16, 2010, Retrieved: April 21, 2021
- Zunaid Abbas Moti – the man who takes, but never gives back, Open Source Investigations, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: April 21, 2021
- Sipho Mabuza, Zunaid Moti close to Zimbabwe pullout, wants ‘political and economic reforms’, ZimLive, Published: September 23, 2019, Retrieved: April 21, 2021
- Kiri Rupiah, Moti back from stint in German jail, Mail and Guardian, Published: January 22, 2019, Retrieved: April 21, 2021
- Lisa Steyn, ‘Controversial’ businessman Zunaid Moti’s extreme makeover, ZimLive, Published: August 27, 2018, Retrieved: April 21, 2021