Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
A CONSIGNMENT of four vehicles assembled by the proposed Kwekwe-based car assembly and manufacturing plant, Hende Moto, is stuck in Johannesburg, South Africa due to xenophobic attacks in that country.
Speaking from his United States of America base yesterday, Hende Moto founder and director, Dr Devine Mafa, said the attacks on foreigners and burning of goods destined for Zimbabwe in South Africa has stalled the arrival of their first batch of cars in the country. As a result, he said, his organisation was forking out US$320 a day in storage fees.
“We are unable to move because of xenophobia. We just started this company and before we even start operations we are affected by these acts.
“We have been affected and we have to pay storage fees of US$320 per day. It’s been two weeks now since our consignment has been stuck,” said Dr Mafa.
The consignment for the vehicle brand was coming from the United States of America for final assembly in Zimbabwe. In the meantime, Dr Mafa said 75 percent of the vehicles would be assembled in the US where they were being manufactured while 25 percent would be done locally.
It is also hoped that going forward, Hende Moto cars, which are targeting passenger and commercial use, will be manufactured in Zimbabwe.
“Three wheeler vehicles are the most versatile. There was an issue of legality with three wheelers in the passenger transport business to replace inner city and ban kombis that will be designated to the outskirts,” he said.
The vehicle by Hende Moto, Dr Mafa said, is also a master modem of pot-hole impact due to narrow wheels.
“It’s used in rural areas as ambulances and army vehicles and post offices in USA. It’s used for long distance travels by tourists and can be seen driving across the world in three months. It’s also been a backbone for starting manufacturing industries in India,” he said.
Dr Mafa said their brand was fuel efficient and reasonably priced as it can use both petrol and electricity. They are also planning to spread the project across Africa.
“Given the anticipated impact of the project to Zimbabwe’s economy and the company’s potential to be a huge firm in Africa, Hende Moto should be declared a national project,” he said.
“We are a registered car maker. We also make electric vehicles if the support is there. We have the ability to install a grid at each service station. Such support includes the Government giving gas service stations tax incentives to add electric service meters and battery swap stations.”
Meanwhile, Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi has said Government will soon announce incentives for the use of electric cars and is preparing to set up and install the necessary infrastructure in the country’s service stations and along highways by the end of the year.
He said Government was also working on introducing a number of solar projects including putting all the country’s airports under solar power as the country moves to migrate to alterative and sustainable energy. — @okazunga.