The Sunday News
Sunday News Reporter
BULAWAYO businessman Mr Mohammed Patel has dismissed allegations that he externalises foreign currency and smuggles gold out of Zimbabwe.
He said: “I am an ethical businessman and I have worked hard without cutting corners. I do not deal in gold, let alone smuggle it. In fact I and my businesses have never smuggled anything, not once, not ever. And I have never externalised foreign currency. I do not bank outside Zimbabwe. All my businesses and investments are here in this country, why would I sabotage the country that I love so much? I am a law abiding citizen.
“My Success is very difficult for other people to swallow and they are going to great lengths to spoil my name by creating such false stories. I have worked hard in Zimbabwe for over 15 years and have established several successful businesses in the manufacturing sector and retail school wear sectors, namely Toppers Uniforms. I have built a name for myself and others do not like it,” Mr Patel said.
Mr Patel said it was sad that people were accusing them of being involved in smuggling at a time that they were working on their expansion drive.
“We are not a struggling business on the contrary we are planning further aggressive expansion very soon. Our papers are in order, actually we have been actively contributing to the country’s economic growth as guided by the National Development Strategy 1 document,” he said.
Meanwhile, his employees at Good Deal Cash & Carry have dismissed social media rumours that they intend to embark on a strike and insist that their employer pays them well.
The workers said the ‘planned’ industrial action is a no. event as they are happy with their salaries.
The social media post suggested that the employees had not been paid their August salaries.
“I think there is a problem with the Zimbabwe media landscape and true journalism is lost. Many journalists only care about getting a scoop without verifying. Some are so eager to publish damaging stories to try to ruin people’s reputations even though it is clear that the allegations are false.
“We are paid well and we have no complaints. I would not leave my employment for another wholesaler because I get paid more here. Our working conditions are far from poor,” said an employee on condition of anonymity.
Another employee said reports that they are subjected to hard labour are laughable.
“There are labour laws in Zimbabwe and we are all aware of our rights. We would not let anyone subject us to slavery. I have been at this company since it started and if I have issues with my welfare they get addressed internally and I have never felt short-changed,” said another worker. “There are good company systems in place to support staff in the event of time off or emergencies.”
It was further alleged that the company was underpaying its employees which had since resulted in a threat of a possible job action.
Mr Patel revealed that their salaries were guided by the minimum wage that wholesalers must pay their employees.
““Our employees are part of the Good Deal Cash & Carry family; we treat them as part of the family. A happy employee is a productive employee. We cannot afford to short-change them because if we do, they will short-change us.
“There is a minimum wage that wholesalers must pay their employees and we abide strictly by such laws. We also pay our employees on time without any problems. We are not a struggling business on the contrary we are planning further aggressive expansion very soon,” said Mr Patel.