Mpumalanga businessman Sam ‘Mshengu’ Chabalala’s real name and nationality have been revealed in court after months of speculation and denial. Sam Mshengu, as popularly known, appeared at the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on a charge of corruption after allegedly trying to bribe a police officer to release his impounded Mercedes-Benz and to make his initial case disappear.
He is alleged to have paid R50,000 as a down payment and further added R70,000.
Mshengu was first arrested in 2019 and charged with fraud, corruption and possession of an unlicensed firearm. The Witbank Magistrate’s Court later released him on R200,000 bail.
Most South Africans had never heard of the young millionaire until he became the face of a flashy convoy of supercars that travelled to the Durban July last year.
The 28-year-old later told Aldrin Sampear on Power FM that he was born in Makwarela, Venda.
However, it was revealed in court that his real name is Gilbert Tachuona and he was born in Zimbabwe.
Daily Sun quoted state prosecutor Eric Sihlangu as saying: “The department of home affairs has indicated that the applicant obtained a South African ID through misrepresentation.”
Mshengu told Power FM that he started working at an orange farm in Limpopo at the age of 11 as a general worker whose responsibility was to pick oranges. He worked hard and earned his boss’ trust and was then moved to the trucking division of the company. There he learnt everything there was to know about trucks and the logistics business.
“I learnt everything about trucks and I loved it. I can tell you everything about a truck. He (my boss) gave me an opportunity to be a truck driver and I started delivering maize and other products for him to Zambia and other neighbouring countries. He then promoted me and I started working as a controller who was in charge of truck drivers,” he said.
The knowledge he acquired from working for his boss encouraged him to start his own trucking business. He registered his company, Sam Holdings Trading, in 2014 and used his boss’ trucks to start his business.
“I got a contract even when I didn’t have a truck at the time. I took my boss’ trucks and registered them. I was getting a commission of R10 at the time. I worked for a long time and raised money to buy my own truck. I could make R300,000 a month with commission and salary at the time.”
He kept working and saving money until it got to R3 million. He used the money to buy three trucks and trailers cash.
“Now I have 52 trucks running on the road with machines and plant hire. That’s how I made my money. I’ve never been involved in anything illegal. I do transport with Eskom, but I’m also venturing into mining now with my own mine. It’s all my mind and planning and the mercy of God,” he said.
(Additional reporting by News24 Wire)