Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Indigenisation Minister eyes takeover of Masvingo firms

Indigenisation Minister eyes takeover of Masvingo firms

By Tererai Karimakwenda
29 March 2012

Controversial Indigenisation Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, is in the 
headlines again. This time reports say he has set his sights on Masvingo 
Province, where he plans to acquire 51% shares in the only lithium producer 
in Zimbabwe Bikita Minerals, sugar growing giant Tongaat Hullet, Renco Mine 
and Malilangwe Trust.

The development was confirmed on Tuesday by Munyaradzi Rubaya, chairman of 
the Masvingo Industry and Commerce sub-committee, who said the companies 
would be acquired under the “Community Share Ownership Trust”. Rubaya did 
not know how the deals would be structured and it is not clear how this 
“trust” would benefit the local communities.

The move is a continuation of ZANU PF’s “indigenous empowerment programme”, 
which has been criticised as being nothing more than a massive looting 
exercise for top officials in the Mugabe regime.

The director of Bikita Minerals, Dzikamai Mavhaire, is also the former 
Governor of Masvingo and a member of the powerful, decision making ZANU PF 

Political and economic analyst, Bekithemba Mhlanga explained that foreign 
investors like transparency and need confidence in the laws of the country 
where they invest their money. In Zimbabwe’s case both are lacking. Mhlanga 
said it is the way the empowerment policy is being implemented that 
potential investors have problems with.

“Everyone understands there is a need for some local control but people are 
not so sure how these deals are being structured and how the shares will be 
paid for,” Mhlanga added. He said investors will wonder whether they are 
equal players or working with a gun to their head.”

South Africa’s Impala Platinum was recently forced into a deal to turn over 
majority shares in their Zimplats operations by Kasukuwere.

The company was criticised for giving in to “robbery”, instead of fighting 
for their rights and the affair further damaged Zimbabwe’s reputation as a 
potential investment prospect. A number of analysts said that ZANU PF’s 
success with Zimplats has emboldened them to spread their net even further.

“Look at what happened with land reform despite the fact that everyone had 
agreed it had to be done. The way it was done by ZANU PF tended to be 
violent and sometimes unlawful and illegal,” Mhlanga explained, referring to 
the chaotic invasion of commercial farms that destroyed Zimbabwe’s food 
production and displaced hundreds of thousands of farm workers.

The coalition government recently intensified their global efforts to lure 
foreign companies to Zimbabwe, organising investment conferences around the 
world. But economic experts say a stable political environment and the rule 
of law must be established first, if any progress is to be made.


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