SOUTH AFRICAN businessman Frederick Wilhelm August Lutzkie, who crash-landed and buried his chopper at Doddieburn Farm, yesterday spoke of his love for Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe.
Speaking to Southern Eye, Lutzkie who is out on bail pending an appeal against a seven-year prison term imposed on him for illegally flying in and out of Zimbabwe, said the country had the potential to perform better economically better than South Africa, but needed investors like him.
Lutzkie, who was accompanying his colleague Pieter Schalk Marais to court, said he was working on acquiring Zimbabwean citizenship.
“This is a beautiful country with lovely and intelligent people. Zimbabwe is a land of milk and honey and has the potential to perform better than South Africa which is slumping now,” Lutzkie said.
“I love President Robert Mugabe and his style of leadership and l wonder what this country would become without him.”
Lutzkie said he had so far poured R23 million into Doddieburn Ranch and was looking at furthering his business with another R100 million investment in future.
He said his investment had resulted in job creation, uplifted people and eased poverty at the Doddieburn Ranch community.
“Let’s stop the negative reporting that will scare investors. Let’s be positive and turn this country around,” Lutzkie said.
On his stint in prison, Lutzkie said he was touched by the plight of prisoners adding that most of them were being incarcerated for petty crimes.
“If investors come in, jobs will be created and prisons will be cleared. There isn’t much crime here unlike in South Africa,” he said.
Meanwhile, Marais, who is a shareholder at Doddieburn Ranch, was fined $100 after he pleaded guilty to illegally working in the country.
In passing sentence, provincial magistrate Reuben Mukavhi noted that Marais was a first offender who was facing a “minor case”.
Mukavhi further stated that the courts should be seen to be encouraging investment in the country.
The State said between July 17, 2013 and May 17, Marais entered the country as a visitor on holiday, but eventually assumed employment as a supervisor at the ranch.
The offence came to light when immigration officials interviewed him following the discovery of the buried chopper.
His colleague Laurens Marthinus Botha, who denied similar charges and is also on trial, yesterday had his application for the temporary release of his passport granted by Mukavhi.
Through his lawyer Thamsanqa Khumalo, Botha, whose passport is being held as part of his bail conditions, said he needed to apply for an extension of his stay in the country until the finalisation of his case.
Mukavhi granted the application for the release of the passport into the custody of Khumalo and said Botha should not be in possession of the travel document until it is returned to the clerk of court on Monday.