BY VUSINDLU MAPHOSA
Filabusi residents in Matabeleland South, who formed Insiza Investment Company, an empowerment project in 1995, say they have not benefited from their equity and fear that the directors might be benefiting alone.
The residents say they have not received any feedback on their investment and properties for the past 13 years despite their public limited company acquiring properties such as cars, tractors, chicken fowl runs now lying idle, cooking utensils, office equipment and houses all of which they have not benefited from since then.
However, the investment company directors have dismissed the claims that houses were part of Insiza Investment Company properties, but belonged to the Development Trust of Insiza, which accommodated the investment company.
A member of Insiza Investment Company, Sibongile Khumalo, said members contributed a lot of money since the inception of the company in 1995 and some of the members were drawn from the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
“We poured a lot of money and even took money from our own projects to invest in this company hoping to reap great returns, but up to now we got nothing from this,” Khumalo said.
“We suspect that the directors might be benefiting alone from our investment.
“We are asking for the sale of all properties so we can share the proceeds among members rather than for a few to eat (sic) our sweat.”
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She said some of the members have since died without benefiting from their investments.
Another member, who preferred anonymity, said the directors were renting out the houses with tenants paying US$250 for a full house while members were not aware where the money goes to.
“We invested a lot of money in this company and it stresses me to think that out of it I got nothing to date,” she said.
“There were cars and no one knows where they are now.
“We only see our former leaders prospering in businesses yet we have nothing to show for our investments.”
A company shareholder, Jabisile Ncube, who is also a founding member of the Development Trust of Insiza, said members were concerned about the collapse of their company and lack of feedback from directors on what happened to their investment.
Ncube said Insiza Investment Company was formed under the development trust to empower the business community and locals.
“The company worked before the economic collapse in 2008,” he said.
“After the collapse of the economy, the directors did not come back to report to us what happened.
“The leaders must convene a meeting with members to make us understand what happened.
“There were properties such as cars, office equipment, fowl run, tractors, shares and cooking utensils.
“The investment company never bought or built houses. The two houses belonged to the Development Trust.
“I am a founder member of the Development Trust and when the trust donors stopped funding it, we called people in the community to form a company and the company never bought houses.”
Ncube said the trust accommodated the investment company directors in its houses, which might have led to people believing that the properties belonged to the company.
He said the trust bought the houses using donor funds from Norway, which came through Insiza Rural District Council and the government after the trust had applied for funding.
“Those who contributed money to the company need to convene a meeting with directors to get information about the company’s standing,” Ncube said.
Insiza Investment Company board chairman Ndumiso Mpofu was not reachable for comment.
However, one of the directors, Matilda Mahaso, said most of the properties the company had were rented from the council, but she could not account for them as she left the area in 2009.
“What I know is that there were files and most of the properties were rented from the council,” said Mahaso, who is now district development coordinator for Nkayi.
“We were renting a restaurant and a bar.
“I do not remember us having cars and tractors.
“I will have to revisit the issue with those who remained there in Insiza because I left the place sometime in 2009,” Mahaso
“The office equipment they are talking about is just a table, chair and a wooden file cabinet.
“The fowl run is there, if they want to revive the company they can simply come together and do so.”
*This article was originally published by The Citizen Bulletin, a nonprofit news organisation that produces hard-hitting, hyperlocal reporting and analysis for the southwestern region of Matabeleland.