Zimbabwe gives foreign companies an ultimatum

2011-08-20 10:03

Zimbabwe has given 13 foreign firms an ultimatum to sell majority stakes to local partners to comply with a new law or risk being taken over, a state daily reported on Friday.

“Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered, six mining companies and five other firms have been given a two-week ultimatum to submit acceptable indigenisation plans or risk losing their licences, with the government taking over ownership,” The Herald newspaper reported.

“The companies were required by law to submit indigenisation plans detailing how they intend to meet the 51% direct equity participation by locals within five years,” the newspaper said.

Some of the affected companies – including food multinational Nestlé, platinum miner Zimbabwe Platinum Mines and British American Tobacco – received letters dated July 28 and signed by indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, but officials told the newspaper no responses had yet been received.

“If the companies fail to rectify their non-compliance, the minister is empowered under the Indigenisation Act to institute proceedings to cancel their licences.”

A new indigenisation law requires all foreign firms to sell 51% stakes to black Zimbabweans, with companies given up to September 25 to submit proposals on how they plan to comply.

The new law is strongly supported by veteran President Robert Mugabe, but has created tensions within the unity government, with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai arguing that it will discourage investment.

Mugabe has defended the regulations as a measure to correct the economic imbalances created by Zimbabwe’s colonial past.

Zimbabwe is rebuilding its economy following nearly a decade of political and economic crisis that ended with the formation of a unity government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai two years ago.

Foreign mines operating in the country include London-listed Aquarius Platinum, Australian-listed Zimbabwe Platinum Mines, Anglo Platinum and Rio Tinto.

New Corruption Busters
Zimbabwean

President Robert Mugabe has appointed a nine-member anti-corruption

commission to stem out corruption in the country, according to a report in

Zimbabwe’s Herald Online on Friday.Denford

Chirindo, who previously worked in the ministries of defence and justice and

legal affairs, would chair the commission.

He also worked with the Reserve Bank

of Zimbabwe as a senior logistics administrator from 2006 to January this

year.

Chirindo’s

deputy would be policy consultant Teresa Mugadza. She previously worked at the

Women in Politics Support Network.

Other

members were Goodwill Shana, Zivanai Rusike, Anna Chitsike, Emmanuel Chimwanda,

Shepherd Gwasira, Elita Sakupwanya and Lakayana Duve.

Chief

secretary to the president and cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, said the appointments

were made in consultation with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy Prime

Minister Arthur Mutambara, in line with the constitution of Zimbabwe and

provisions of the Global Political Agreement.

“All

the members appointed to the commission are persons of integrity chosen for

their knowledge of and experience in administration, or the prosecution or

investigation of crime, and for their suitability for appointment,” Sibanda

said.

The

commission would be sworn in by Mugabe.


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