Zimbabwe takes aim at banks

2012-07-03 11:13

Harare – Zimbabwe has given foreign-owned banks one year to hand over 51% of ownership to locals, according to a government notice, as President Robert Mugabe ramps up a drive to force all foreign-owned businesses to surrender majority control to blacks.

A government notice released last week said all foreign-owned banks with a minimum net value of $1 had one year to reduce their shareholding to 49%.

The southern African state has already forced mining companies such as Rio Tinto and Impala Platinum Holdings, the world’s second-largest platinum miner, to turn over majority stakes in their local units to black Zimbabweans.

Emboldened by his success against miners, Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is now targeting banks.

Kasukuwere, a member of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, has clashed with central bank governor Gideon Gono and Finance Minister Tendai Biti over the banking sector.

Biti, a senior member from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party and Gono, a Mugabe ally, have opposed Kasukuwere, arguing Zimbabwe only has four foreign banks out of 26 financial institutions.

Kasukuwere could not immediately be reached for comment but he has previously vowed to pursue foreign banks, which he accuses of refusing to provide loans to the agriculture industry and small black businesses.

“Foreign banks are safe because they deny you funding ... so we have got to transform them,” Kasukuwere was quoted as saying by the private NewsDay last Thursday.

Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank and South Africa’s Standard Bank Group and Nedbank Group all have operations in Zimbabwe and would be affected by the latest regulations.

Zanu-PF has been criticised over the past decade for patronage when seizing white-owned farms.

Critics say many farms are now in the hands of party loyalists instead of the landless black peasants who were supposed to benefit.

Critics of the takeovers of mines and banks say Zanu-PF is using the policy to try and win votes ahead of elections which will be held in the next 12 months.

The government notice also said private schools, which used to be a preserve for whites but are now largely multiracial, should in the next year be majority owned by blacks.

The majority of Zimbabweans attend government-run schools, which are only starting to recover after a decade of economic crisis left the schools without books and teachers, who sought employment in neighbouring countries.

The energy, tourism and telecommunications industries also have to comply with the empowerment law in the next year.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.