The Sunday Mail
Brian Chitemba Investigations Editor
Information and Communication Technology and Postal and Courier Services Minister Webster Shamu has reportedly launched an inquiry into allegations that DHL is double charging Zimbabweans unclear fees which it claims cover additional clearing costs.
Sources familiar with the issue revealed that the minister has requested detailed submissions from the company.
Last night, the DHL country manager, Mr Stalin Tauya, visited The Sunday Mail newsroom and finally came face to face with the editorial team as the company pleaded for space to insert an urgent Press statement responding to the allegations.
Tauya flatly refused to answer questions put to him directly by a senior editor on specific questions that had been left unanswered by the Press statement. The Press statement (see Page 11) did not address key issues raised by The Sunday Mail over the past three weeks, in particular why only Zimbabweans were being charged in this way.
DHL has failed to satisfactorily explain the mystery charges. There has been growing outrage over perceived impunity by DHL by Zimbabweans who have been forced to hand over up to US$120 by the company or have their parcels forfeited.
The company had for the past two weeks ignored calls to explain the precise nature of the additional costs they experience in Zimbabwe to justify the US$50 and US$120 clearance fees. Efforts to get a clear explanation from the company during the week were fruitless as Tauya and DHL Express spokesman Mr Daniel McGrath did not respond to e-mailed questions.
Prominent lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein has advised disgruntled parcel recipients who have been forced to part with the mystery fees that legal action could force the company to divulge how it came up with the fees. Of particular irritation is the fact that the charge is only levied against Zimbabweans while other recipients of parcels across the globe receive their items without making extra payments. DHL torched a storm after it emerged that parcels would have already been paid for in full by the sender. A number of disgruntled Zimbabweans have contacted The Sunday Mail complaining about the clearance fees. They challenged the company to give an explanation on what the fees were for. A Harare woman, Mrs Nyembezi Sithole, said she almost lost her relative’s wedding gown which was shipped from the UK after DHL demanded US$120 as clearance fees.
“We didn’t have the money to pay the so-called clearance fees but we had to make last-minute arrangements since the wedding gown was supposed to be used in a few days. The clearance fees are theft. We urge the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to intervene and protect Zimbabweans against such companies,” she said.