The Sam Mshengu “Holdings” Lesson for black people

I usually draw reference to public cases only on my podcasts and not on my personal website but I felt this topic is one that needs a writeup, before I start, here is a video that’s dear to my heart:

When many business people around the world saw the convoy of 72 cars on the road to Durban July in 2019, we were not only amazed at the numbers of the cars but the cost and logistics of such a trip. According to one of the PR commentator, it was believed that this stunt was meant to pilot Sam Mshengu into the media for good and promote his business.

He is not the first to draw some media tone with the convoy charade, there are others who also likes the attention a convoy brings, like James Stunt, Nawaz Sharif, Mukesh Ambani but the only mistake Mshengu made was that the move was not strategic and tagged a show off that backfired.

The video of the luxury cars was celebrated online, admired, and criticised by many which led to the investigation that unraveled a lot of the issues that brought us here, here is the video:

As human beings, especially the black race, we are very happy when another man falls, we are quick to celebrate failures, question success, and envy hard work. Here are some of the lessons that can be learned with the whole Mshengu story:

Businesses are built on hard work and persistence 

Anyone who runs a business knows the routine and the tireless efforts of waiting for returns. Mshengu’s story was not different, on a radio interview the stunt generated, he revealed he got into the trucking business after working at an orange farm in Limpopo at the age of 11 as a general worker whose responsibility was to pick oranges.

He said he worked hard and earned his boss’ trust and was then moved to the trucking division of the company. There he learned everything there was to know about trucks and the logistics business.

“I learned 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 neighboring 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 a 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.

Showing off is an offensive act

Mshengu’s business was booming and just like the web of other businesses started increasing, he ventured into recreation, energy, and mining. Accomplishing the dream was awesome and all too good to be kept from the limelight.

Wherever Mshengu is right now, just like the vrrr phaa teams and the many people who have cultivated the habit of showing off to be relevant. I would like to know what he has learned and understand his view on the actions that led to the decision to have the convoy of 72 cars to Durban July.

One mistake that was too costly, one that claimed all his hard work and the very mistake that was meant to boost his business but done the wrong way.

Foundation is very important

When the story started and investigations were allegedly pilling up against him, the expectation of many of us, was that he would be clean as a known businessman that deals in the logistics industry.

However, no one ever imagined a turn in the case, when he was charged with the Contravention of the Immigration Act, fraud, corruption, bribery. It was confirmed that Mshengu who was not a South African, had illegally paid his way to obtain citizenship.

Only of the crucial reasons why it is very important to get things done the right way is the confidence that comes with it when questioned. The wait is always worth the shortcuts and bribery that could tarnish everything.

The case was termed as a businessman that was facing competition and envy when he was granted bail of 200 thousand by the court.

Avoid shortcuts

He was re-arrested when the state accused Mshengu of trying to bribe a home affairs official to stop an investigation into his citizenship.

He is also accused of attempting to bribe a senior police official to get his luxury vehicle released from the SAP 13 where it was kept as evidence and it was also alleged that he attempted to have the case against him disappear.

He made two payments, one of R50 000 and another of R70 000 a day before he was arrested.

I would love to hear what you think, hear from people who knew him, and also learn more about this story. Send me a message on my contact page.

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