Below is a brief interview with the Director of Hotplate Grillhouse, a popular restaurant that recently invaded the hospitality industry. The discussion follows social media accusations against its owners.
ZimEye’s Simba Chikanza (SC) speaks to company director, Mr Benson Muneri (BM)
SC: Are you not a front?
BM: Benson Muneri is a young Zimbabwean enterprenuer born in Kadoma, raised in Bulawayo and was based in South Africa for 22yrs where he worked in leading restaurants up to executive level before he decided to go home in 2019 & invest in Zimbabwe in the new dispensation.
SC: How did you get money?
BM: I built up 15 stores in SA where l had access to cashflows from banks and my own fulltime jobs. Those shops generated enough cashflow for me to sustain the launch into Zimbabwe in 2019 as l also sold all those stores l was owning [so] to have enough money for the Zimbabwean rollout.
SC: Are you not connected to the Mnangagwa family?
BM: I totally respect the First Family & l am not ashamed of that, as they share the same respect to me as a young businessman. That’s our relationship; it’s built on our work ethics and utmost respect for the President HE Mnangagwa and the office he holds.
SC: How many businesses get a Presidential nod and endorsement?
BM: Very few, Simba; so for him doing that for me l have total respect for him as a father figure. Besides that the business is not connected to the first family.
SC: What of your relationship with the popular female Twitter personality, Lynne…as accused of you, though I am still trying to make out what on earth this is meant to imply. You are accused of meeting her in South Africa at one time.
BM: I have never personally met Lynne, but she offered and agreed to be Brand Ambassador for Hotplate Grillhouse when we launched into the social media space. Hotplate Grillhouse is where it is today because of humble people like her who did not ask or expect anything in return for her services till she stepped down.
SC: Did you not connect Lynne to ZANU PF elites?
BM: Did l connect Lynne to Zanu elites? …… No, I have not done so in any way or form.
SC: Why do you dish out free meals, and what exactly is your motive for this?
BM: Motive of free meals …We are doing brand building in the process of creating social consciousness of what the youth need to do. As responsible future leaders, the power is in their hands to decide who they want so we only creating awareness of that aspect in our actions. Above all, we are doing our bring-to bring-the-nation together and get people talking in the true spirit of one love and togetherness as one great nation.
Simba we are a Brand for the people and we represent the masses. We do what we do and do so much charity work more than any restaurant brands in Zimbabwe and we pride ourselves in what we do. The same people who attack us on public platforms come into our inbox and ask for help and we gladly assist whereever we can because we firmly believe we are a brand for the people.
We are passionate about what we do and making a difference in people’s lives and will not shy away from continuing to give away meals as we want to make a difference as a brand and do what others never thought of all in the name of love for our nation.
SC: Thank you Sir.
BM: Thank you