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S3x work now the most source of income in Harare



High unemployment and the increasing cost of living are fuelling a rise in sex work in Zimbabwe.

It is now the most mentioned source of income in Harare, according to a survey by the Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network, in partnership with the National Aids Council (NAC) and the ministry of health and childcare.

The survey was conducted in Harare, Bulawayo, Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central.

“In Harare the most often-mentioned source of income was sex work. Sex work was the third-most often-mentioned source of income in Mashonaland Central and the fourth in Mashonaland West. Bulawayo and Mashonaland Central had the highest number of participants reporting not to be earning any money,” the report, released late last month, said.

“Participants engaging in transactional sex in the past six months had suffered from some form of sexual violence, being forced into having either penetrative sex or oral sex. About a third of those engaging in transactional sex have had anal sex,” it added.

Sex work is a criminal offence, leaving the country’s estimated 45,000 sex workers unprotected by the law and exposed to danger.

In Harare’s Avenues area, a well-known red-light district, women flooded the streets looking for clients this week.

Nelly, 34, who asked that her surname not be revealed, said: “I entered sex work when l was 22.

“Abject poverty and lack of opportunities forced me into this profession. Homeless, without any money and nothing to eat, a friend took me in and introduced me to sex work.

“It’s hard. I am stigmatised by family and society. I am also subjected to harassment by the police. I charge US$10 for 30 minutes or US$20 for a full hour. In one night I sleep with at least five men.

Sexual violence

“In most cases I encounter sexual violence. I have been raped and stabbed, and my body is full of bruises from physical violence. I also got pregnant and now I have a child to look after.

“Because I have a child to feed and bills to pay, it has become difficult to leave the industry, but at the same time l did not feel safe doing sex work.”

According to UNAids, Zimbabwean sex workers “face violence from the police, clients and partners, increasing their risk of acquiring HIV.

“Prevalence of HIV among sex workers in the country is high, estimated at 42.2%. Sex workers also face stigma and discrimination from healthcare workers.”

Monalisa, 22, dropped out of school when she became pregnant. Sex work was a means of survival to feed her children.

“The first time I started sex work, I traded sex for food to feed my two children. As time progresses you realise transactional sex is not only about money, it’s also about food.

“With the cost of living soaring and high prices, often I sleep with men for food – just a few groceries like sugar, cooking oil, mealie meal and some meat. The money in sex work is just too little. Charging US$10 for sex is not enough to put food on the table.

“And the industry is very dangerous. Some clients want to take drugs while with me and often male clients refuse to use condoms because they say it reduces their pleasure. Even though I charge more – US$40 – for unprotected sex it’s still a risk,” she said.

Financial hardships

Hazel Zemura, director of All Women Advocacy, a grassroots organisation led by sex workers and with more than 3,000 members aged between 18 and 53, said the country’s financial hardships meant “a lot of women have been forced into transactional sex”.

“There is also an increase in the number of women forced to turn to what is known as survival sex work, undertaken to meet immediate needs such as financial, accommodation or food,” she said.

“We are campaigning for the decriminalisation of sex work. It is illegal to solicit clients, live on the earnings of sex work and facilitate and procure sex work. All this makes sex workers vulnerable to violence and victimisation, and reluctant to report this to the police for fear of criminalisation.”

Poverty and an inability to afford tuition, accommodation and food have also forced many university students into the industry.

Tatenda, 23, a second-year student, said transactional sex paid her bills.

“I live off campus, renting a room with two other girls. We need to buy food, pay the rent and have transport money.

“My parents are struggling. They manage to pay for tuition fees and send a little extra for food, but it’s not enough.

“So I engage in transactional sex with older men to pay my rent and buy food. Other students are doing it as well, because if you don’t, you will starve,” she said.

Zimbabwe News

Chinese national Li Song accused in Cynide scandal in Zimbabwe



Chinese national Li Song

A Chinese national who was arrested yesterday at the Harare magistrate court on allegations of smuggling more than 100 tonnes of Cynide has claimed to be a diplomat.

Li Song who is facing several allegations that include money laundering, extenalisation, theft and attempted murder has been released by the National Prosecuting Authority to the amusement of the complainants who have a solid evidence against her.

According to the source who attended the vetting process Li Song claimed to be a diplomat who is immune from arrest in the country and the members of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission went to the Chinese embassy to verify her claim..

According to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission officers Somg was taken to Avondale police station cells for verification.

The notorious Chinese national has been implicated in various offences in the country and is also suspected to be one of the suspect in the poisoning of elephants with Cynide in the country.

Song is accused of externalizing more than US$11 million to an offshore bank account and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is a complainant in the case.

Song was arrested at the Harare magistrates court by members of Zacc and is expected to appear in court today.

According to the source Li improtedd more than 100 tonnes of Cynide but was later found with 40 tonnes which was stores at different places in a bid to use it in court to obstruct the course of justice.

Li was recently summons to appear in court on May 21 on allegations of externalization and moneylaundering which Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is the complainant.

She is accused of externalizing US$11 million through the central bank after manufacturing invoices to get forex at the bank’s auction system.

The Chinese national who is also referred as a defacto ambassador of China is also facing allegations of attempting to kill her business partner Franesco Marconati who is the owner of Eagle Italian Leather and Shoes.

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Zimbabwe News

Sugar shortage hits Zimbabwe



Some parts of the country such as the capital, Harare, are experiencing shortages of sugar supplies at retail shops with the informal sector struggling to restock.
A snap survey yesterday confirmed that sugar was in short supply at most shelves, including at smaller retailers in Harare.

Retailers that spoke to NewsDay claimed that this was due to supply bottlenecks at sugar manufacturer Hippo Valley Estates (Hippo).

The retailers were demanding customers buy goods worth US$100 to make them eligible to buy sugar while others simply demanded a dollar or more for each pack of 10 units on top of the marked price.

Tongaat Hulett chief executive Aiden Mhere, however, quickly dispelled such claims saying his company was adequately stocked, while production is going on smoothly.

Mhere said there was enough sugar on the market, with some of it being exported.

“I am on leave for a week now, but I can assure you that there are no supply bottlenecks whatsoever. We have no problem on our end other than that the possibility that some players, particularly the smaller ones, are unable to pay for deliveries, and we can’t continue to supply people who are not paying,” Mhere told NewsDay.

“There are no supply bottlenecks that I know for sure and you can even contact my colleagues from the office.”

Hippo Valley chief operating officer Sylvester Mangani said the company had huge stocks of sugar and was able to meet demand.

However, he said there were some players that were unable to restock.

“Remember there was an influx of imports after duty on basics was lifted. Now that we are back to normal, some players can’t afford to re-stock. Informal retailers pay cash upfront and are, therefore, likely experiencing cashflow challenges,” Mangani said.

In its latest annual report for 2022, Hippo Valley said although local demand for sugar remained strong as industry recovered from the impacts of COVID-19, the sugar industry was engaging authorities to ensure an even competitive playing field against cheap imports of sugar originating from surplus producers, who enjoy duty protection in their host countries.

The Zimbabwe Sugar Industry has a single marketing desk administered by Zimbabwe Sugar Sales (Private) Limited.

The company’s share of total industry sugar sales volumes of 394 000 tonnes for the year ended March 31, 2022 was 53,2%.

Total industry sugar sales into the domestic market for the year at 356 000 tonnes were 10% higher than the previous year, driven by strong domestic demand.

Industry export sales, however, decreased by 67% to 38 000 tonnes following redirection of supply to the local market in view of the increased demand.

In other news – LaConco’s father reveals he is ready to reconcile with his daughter

LaConco’s father has revealed that he is ready to reconcile with his daughter.


The star’s father has no intention to leave this world a heartbroken man following his strained relationship with his daughter. Learn More

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Zimbabwe News

Mary Mubaiwa’s Pretoria home and Range Rovers seized by South African authorities



Mary Chiwenga

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s ex-wife Marry Mubaiwa’s troubles continue mounting after a South African court has ordered the seizure of her Pretoria home and her two Land Rover vehicles until her money laundering and fraud trial is concluded in Zimbabwe.

The order to seize the property follows a request to South African authorities by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) who are investigating her offences.

The property is believed to have been purchased using crime proceeds allegedly acquired by the former model when she still enjoyed privileges associated with being the VP’s wife.

“In terms of section 38(2) of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, No 121 of 1998 (the Act) all persons with knowledge of this order, are, other than as required and permitted by this order, prohibited from removing, taking possession of or control over, dissipating, interfering with or otherwise dealing in any manner with the property to which this order relates,” ruled the High Court in South Africa.

“It is ordered that the South African Police Service (SAPS) Brooklyn police station under Case 308/01/2020 to seize the property as 1,2 an 1,3 above to be kept for safekeeping at Pretoria West Pound VSS, until the outcome of the forfeiture proceedings to be instituted in terms of section 48 of the Act.”

The Registrar of Deeds Office, Pretoria was also ordered to restrict execution or attachment of the property without the High Court’s approval.

Mubaiwa however has a chance to defend the forfeiture order, which follows a successful application by South Africa’s National Director of Public Prosecutions.

To support its application, the State deposed an affidavit through Skuta David Mfopha, an investigator attached to the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in the NPA.

The application was in terms of Chapter 6, section 38(1) of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998 (the POCA) for a preservation of property order.

According to court papers, Mubaiwa is the Chief Executive Officer for East Town Commodities (Pvt) Ltd and the attached property was registered under the company’s subsidiaries, East Town Electricals, La Challe Travel and Tours, East town Events, Tarnor Investments (Pvt) Ltd.

Mfopha said, “I further submit that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the company registered in terms of the Republic of South African Company Laws, namely La Chelle Travel and tours, were used by Marry Mubaiwa as instrumentalists to facilitate the commission of fraud/theft or money laundering.”

He added that Mubaiwa’s conduct established so far was indicative of how she operated her scheme of fraud or theft and money laundering.

Documents show that South Africa’s NPA on October 14 last year received a request for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) for Zimbabwe against Mubaiwa.

ZACC Commissioner Frank Muchengwa told South African authorities the anti-graft body had received information from a whistleblower that Mubaiwa had fraudulently exported funds to South Africa to buy some properties.

It is alleged that Mubaiwa instructed Memory Chakulinga, her relative and managing director of her two companies in SA, Falcon Project Pty and Bonnets Electrical Pty in Pretoria, to raise proforma invoices for the purchase of event tents and chairs and prepaid meters.

Muchengwa said the invoices would then be referred to Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) as if they specifically intended to purchase the goods but the funds were allegedly diverted to purchase her personal properties.

“Chakulinga states further that Mubaiwa is her aunt and she recalls Mubaiwa approaching her to assist in setting up a business in South Africa as she indicated that she had won a tender in Zimbabwe. Chakulinga also allegedly said Mubaiwa had told her that she had the facility to get money from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for funding the business,” Muchengwa said.

Chakulinga allegedly offered assistance with a place to open a business at her premises.

She was then asked to do proforma invoices in the name of Tanor Investment for supply of event hosting accessories tents for R203 308 and the invoices had Mubaiwa’s Falcon Suppliers FNB bank accounts.

Court papers show that in December 2018, R203 308 was deposited into the account from CBZ and according to the narration, it was intended for the purchase of tents.

“According to Chakulinga, upon receipt in her account the funds, Mubaiwa instructed her to divert the funds towards purchase of Range Rover at Menlyn in Pretoria,” reads court papers.

“Chakulinga states that she paid R4 million to Range Rover Menlyn and she was told by Mubaiwa that the motor vehicle was to be taken to Zimbabwe but to her surprise, it was registered in South Africa under Marry Mubaiwa.”

In May, according to Chakulinga, another R2 million was deposited into Bonnette Electrical FNB account and she was called by the bank to confirm the receipt of the funds.

She did what she had been instructed to do before but this time on the invoices indicated she was to buy electrical prepaid meters.

Chakulinga added that after the release of the funds, Mubaiwa ordered her to transfer R4 96 500 to Martin Potgieter Trust Account at Standard Bank.

According to Muchengwa, there was financial flow from CBZ to FNB that was detected on the accounts.

It was established that one of the signatories at Mubaiwa’s East Town Commodities was Jeffery Jenje and he allegedly confirmed this.

Jenje also confirmed payments that were made and also that Mubaiwa indeed purchased two vehicles.

Proof of vehicle purchase was provided by Jacobus Hercules Du Preez.

Du Preez said Mubaiwa bought two vehicles worth R1, 6 and R1,8 million respectively.

The ongoing investigations also revealed that Mubaiwa bought a house by sourcing cash from individual companies to purchase on her behalf.

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