The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

UN envoy says Zimbabwe slum clearance 'irrational'

Reuters

Wed 7 Dec 2005 12:03 PM ET

By Andrew Quinn

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 7 (Reuters) - U.N. humanitarian envoy Jan Egeland on
Wednesday criticised Zimbabwe's "irrational" slum clearance campaign and
said he was puzzled by the government's rejection of a U.N. offer of help
for those made homeless.

He left Zimbabwe on Wednesday after a four-day tour, declaring that the
southern African country's humanitarian crisis was deepening, with millions
in need of aid.

"Millions of people are struggling with their back against the wall to fend
off hunger, to fend off AIDS and a lot of other things," Egeland said after
visiting settlements where families have lived in makeshift plastic tents
since their houses were destroyed.

President Robert Mugabe's government bulldozed urban slums and what it
called illegal structures in an operation the United Nations says left
700,000 homeless or without a livelihood and affected 2.4 million others.

Zimbabwe is also suffering food shortages and an economic crisis that has
seen inflation top 400 percent. Mugabe's critics blame his policies for the
country's difficulties, but he says drought and international sanctions are
responsible.

On Tuesday Mugabe held talks with Egeland and rejected an offer to provide
temporary shelter for victims of the slum clearance programme but did accept
an offer of food aid.

CAMPAIGN IS 'IRRATIONAL'

Speaking at a news conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Egeland, the
U.N. humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said he was
mystified by the government's rejection of the offer of tents.

"If they are good enough for people in Europe and the United States who have
lost their houses, why are they not good enough for Zimbabwe," he said.

The United Nations says Zimbabwe needs emergency aid including tents to
accommodate the hundreds of thousands of homeless, but the government says
it only needs help to provide permanent homes.

Egeland said the government rationale for the crackdown -- to root out
illegal trade in scant basic commodities -- appeared deeply flawed.

"The eviction campaign seems to me wholly irrational in all of its aspects
... You lowered the standard of living rather than increasing it."

Egeland said the United Nations agencies, together with non-governmental
organisations, were appealing to the international community for $276
million to assist with everything from emergency food aid to inoculation of
children.

After his talks with Mugabe, he declared the humanitarian situation in
Zimbabwe was serious and the "need for international aid is big and
growing".

"We are not sanctioning or voting on the government's policies here," he
said on Wednesday. "We are helping people in a desperate situation."


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe vows to keep looking East for trade and investment

The Australian

December 08, 2005
HARARE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has been shunned in recent
years by the West, has vowed to forge ahead with his "Look East" policy
aimed at strengthening relations with Asia and the Middle East.

In his state-of-the-nation address to parliament in Harare yesterday, Mr
Mugabe listed investment deals that his Government had struck with China and
Iran at a time when the Zimbabwean economy was in recession.

Mr Mugabe said his visit to China this year had expanded "our ever-deepening
relations with most countries in Asia and the Middle East".

"Clearly, Zimbabwe is very much looking East and there is no looking back,"
Mr Mugabe said.

Asia and the Middle East had "stood by us in our time of need and has
created and offered new trade and investment opportunities", he added.

This year, Zimbabwe has bought three passenger planes, six trainer jets and
almost 400 commuter buses from China.

China also agreed to supply trains and rebuild Zimbabwe's rail network, as
well as pledging food relief for millions of Zimbabweans who face hunger due
to poor crops.

The US has voiced disquiet over China's relationship with Zimbabwe, but
Beijing said on Tuesday its activities in Africa were no threat to
Washington.

Mr Mugabe also promised to address the nation's chronic electricity
shortages during the televised speech - which was interrupted by power
blackouts.

Power and water outages have become routine in Zimbabwe, caught in its worst
economic crisis since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980.

The seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution
to black Zimbabweans, combined with four years of drought, has crippled the
agriculture-based economy.

Inflation has soared to 411per cent and unemployment stands at about 80per
cent.

While Mr Mugabe expressed concern about the "rapid erosion of the people's
standards of living", the President sounded upbeat about Zimbabwe's coming
harvest.

"Let us go into the new year with renewed vigour, firstly, to guarantee our
nation's food self-sufficiency and ... secondly, to work hard to grow our
economy to commanding heights," Mr Mugabe said.

The 40-minute parliamentary address was boycotted by the 48 deputies and
senators of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

"We boycotted parliament today because (we) are tired of Mugabe's lies and
empty promises," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

AFP


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Annan Should Not Pull His Punches With Mugabe



Business Day (Johannesburg)

December 7, 2005
Posted to the web December 7, 2005

Dumisani Muleya
Johannesburg

UNITED Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan will have a golden
opportunity to assess Zimbabwe's political and economic situation first hand
on his imminent visit to the country to see government's reconstruction
projects in the aftermath of the recent demolition blitz.

The Zimbabwean government recently drew international condemnation after a
sweeping demolition blitz against shanties and informal business --
Operation Murambatsvina, or Operation Clear Out the Trash -- which claimed
to be an attempt to clean up dirty cities and towns. The campaign -- which
resulted in 570000 Zimbabweans losing their homes and 98000 their only
source of income -- forced Annan to dispatch an envoy.

The UN's Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka travelled to the country to assess the
impact of the operation, and saw the poor being forced out of shacks into
squalid transit camps.

Tibaijuka said 2,4-million people had been affected by the operation.

Annan said the consequences of the operation were "profoundly distressing",
which sparked a diplomatic row with Harare.

President Robert Mugabe, in reaction to global outrage at his blitz, invited
Annan to the country to see reconstruction housing projects -- on condition
that he did not discuss the politics of the country. Annan rejected Mugabe's
conditions. Then last month the UN chief lashed out at Mugabe over his
refusal to accept humanitarian aid for evicted people. But now Annan is
expected to visit Zimbabwe, following the trip to the country by the UN
humanitarian co-ordinator Jan Egeland this week. Egeland is expected to meet
a broad range of Zimbabweans, including Mugabe.

Annan should use his visit to mobilise international help to pull Zimbabwe
from its social, political and economic quagmire. The visit will confront
Annan with the man-made disaster that is Zimbabwe. Mugabe has for some time
claimed that Zimbabwe's economy has been ruined by sanctions and droughts.
Annan must reject such obfuscations.

US ambassador Christopher Dell last month dismissed Mugabe's excuses in a
speech that trashed the government's tired claims. Dell simply showed --
using empirical research -- that neither targeted sanctions nor drought
conditions were to blame for the situation.

Dell said Zimbabwe's economy was shattered by "gross mismanagement and
corrupt rule". This angered the Mugabe regime, which summoned Dell and gave
him a warning merely for stating the facts.

Annan must be equally forthright. He must adopt a calculated and compelling
diplomatic approach to extract fundamental reform concessions from Mugabe.

As the UN's boss, Annan should have more latitude than Dell to confront
Mugabe head-on and tell him what he does want to hear: that he is the author
of Zimbabwe's problems.

That should be the starting point for a systematic and sustained UN
engagement on the Zimbabwean crisis.

As President Thabo Mbeki learnt the hard way, appeasing dictators does not
work, and neither does subsidising a corrupt and incompetent regime.

Annan will not escape the chilling view of the country's political paralysis
and an economy in tatters. He would have to bury his head in the sand to
avoid the economic statistics.

Zimbabwe now has the dubious distinction of having what must be the
fastest-shrinking economy, the highest inflation and the weakest currency in
the world -- coupled with systematic human rights abuses and the collapse of
the rule of law.

Annan should make a strong case against Mugabe's regime. He should use UN
structures to mobilise all constructive forces against the Harare regime to
force or persuade it to relinquish power. Otherwise, Zimbabwe will continue
to become a giant museum of failure.

-Muleya is Business Day's Harare correspondent and Zimbabwe Independent news
editor.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

More firms join direct fuel import (DFI) facility

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Business Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-07

MORE local companies, exposed to the country's protracted fuel supply
problems since April this year, are turning in their numbers to make
independent fuel imports through the direct fuel import (DFI) facility.
The DFI facility allows corporate organisations and companies, as well as
groups of individuals to make independent fuel imports, on their own behalf,
or that of their members of staff.
At the BP Shell service station situated at the corner of Samora Machel
Avenue and Fourth Street in Harare, two BP Shell petroleum tankers offloaded
about 46 000 litres of fuel under the DFI facility yesterday.
"We have received 23 000 litres of petrol and 23 000 litres of diesel that
will be pumped to selected companies and individuals that are part of the
DFI facility," a petrol attendant said.
"This is our first supply of the fuel under the facility and we know that it
is for those people that are taking part in the DFI facility."
According to official sources in the petroleum industry the DFI facility has
been on the market for months, after the government introduced it in order
to ameliorate the country's biting fuel woes.
With the country surviving on less than 20 percent of the required 2,5
million litres of fuel per month for the greater part of this closing year,
the government has been encouraging both individuals and companies to
purchase limited quantities of the scarce commodity if they have access to
free funds.
Another measure adopted by government has been to allow selected service
stations in a number of urban centres nationwide to sell the commodity to
the public in foreign currency.
The DFI facility, that allows companies to make their own independent
importation of the commodity using their own foreign currency reserves, is
modelled along the same lines as that of the sale of the commodity in
foreign currency, official sources said.
"Companies or groups of individuals can pool their foreign currency together
and import their fuel supplies independently or they then contract licensed
fuel procurement companies such as BP Shell to purchase the commodity on
their behalf," an official said.
"The companies and individuals do not pay for the commodity in foreign
currency but they then access the fuel through a coupon system at another
central point. The service stations taking part in the facility only supply
the fuel to coupon holders."
Fuel availability has turned out to be one of the country's most challenging
problems this year, partly owing to the country's declining foreign currency
reserves.
Fuel imports account for up to 25 percent of the country's total annual
import receipts.
According to the central bank, in a supplementary policy document
accompanying the May-July 2005 monetary policy review statement, the country
is estimated to see its export earnings total US$1.96 billion, of which
US$500 million or about 25 percent of the foreign currency earnings will be
absorbed by fuel imports alone.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Health workers forced to sleep at workplace

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-07

SOME workers at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare are now sleeping
at their workplace as their meagre salaries and ever escalating cost of
transport makes it difficult for them to commute to and from work daily.
Just like other civil servants, the nurses were not awarded any meaningful
salary adjustments this year resulting in most earning salaries way below
the poverty datum line (PDL) currently pegged at about $12 million,
according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ).
Investigations revealed that some workers at the hospital had now resorted
to using visitors' rooms in the wards, storerooms and any other unused
cabins at the old Salisbury Hospital while others were "squatting" with
their friends who have hospital accommodation.
Said a junior nurse who stays in Norton: "My gross salary is around $2,3
million and just adds up to around $4 million or so if the allowances are
added. This is just too little given the high cost of living. It's
increasingly becoming impossible to travel to work everyday, that's why some
of us are sleeping here."
Worst affected are nursing aids and other lowly ranked staff since some are
said to earn a gross salary of below $1 million.
A nurse aid from Kuwadzana said: "Can you believe it that most of us earn a
gross salary of around $800 000? We do not even take home $2 million even if
allowances are added. We just sleep here and go home when we are off. Every
one knows that people are sleeping here because the money is just too low,"
A senior nurse said the meagre salaries were the major reason experienced
and better-qualified staffers were leaving in droves for greener pastures.
"Senior nurses like us get a gross salary of $4 million, on-call allowance
of $4,2 million and other allowances just below $2 million. If it were not
for the on-call allowance I would just be earning $6 million,' she said.
"Just imagine what the juniors are earning in that scenario. Most of them
are doing it (sleeping on premises) and no one can really blame them because
everyone is facing problems," the nurse added.
Contacted for comment Parirenyatwa chief executive, Thomas Zigora,
acknowledged receiving word that some hospital employees were now sleeping
at their workplace. He said: "I have heard the rumour that some health
workers are sleeping at work. But you also have to know that some of them
are on-call 24 hours on some occasions and it would not be practical for
them to travel to and from their homes whenever they are needed."
Zigora went on: "There are also others who cannot afford, say to travel from
Chitungwiza, city centre and then to work. However, we will look into the
complaints and decide what to do. But some of these problems cannot be
addressed by us."


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Low-income earners reduced to vending

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Dec-07

THE current economic hardships characterised by spiralling prices of basic
commodities, have reduced some low-income earners to vendors while others
are resorting to shady deals in a bid to make ends meet.
A snap survey conducted by The Daily Mirror yesterday revealed that security
guards, commuter drivers, shop workers, nurse aids, messengers and court
interpreters were earning between $900 000 and $3,1 million a month.
Security guards earn a minimum of $1,2 million, commuter drivers $1,7
million, shop workers $2,4 million, nurse aides and messengers $900 000 and
court interpreters $1,3 million.
This is despite the fact that the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has pegged
the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) at $12,9 million a month.
A court interpreter in Harare told this newspaper that he had resorted to
vending eggs and sweets during court adjournments to supplement her salary.
She said: "My basic salary is only $1,3 million a month. I have resorted to
selling sweets and eggs whenever the court adjourns to supplement my salary.
Life has become so unbearable these days. Three quarters of my salary is
absorbed by transport, costs which have risen to $900 000 a month."
She added that while court interpreters were "professionals" just like
anyone else, their salaries were pathetic.
"A court cannot sit without an interpreter, but if one looks at our salary
it does not match the work involved," she added.
Security guards also lamented their remuneration.
Eddison Mupudzi of Chitungwiza, who is employed by a reputable security
company said: "My salary is only $3,1 million. It was only $2,5 million last
month, but the increment has since been eroded by the ever rising prices of
basic commodities."
Mupudzi declined to reveal how he was surviving on such a salary, but other
security guards said they were engaging in underhand deals to make ends
meet.
"We are only paid $1,2 million a month despite the huge profits our company
is making. Depending on companies, some guards get between $1,5 million and
$2 million. To be frank, the majority of guards are surviving on shady
deals. We are all dealers. Unotodya pabasa pako ipapo kuti zvifambe, (you
have to survive by hook or crook)" one guard said.
Four security guards were last week convicted by a Mbare magistrate for
stealing 120 bags of cotton seed at a company they provided security.
In mitigation, the guards - from a renowned security company, claimed they
committed the offence to eke a living because their salaries were pathetic.
Some guards interviewed yesterday claimed they were no longer going home
after work, preferring instead to sleep at their workplaces, as they cannot
afford to commute to and from work.
"We go home only on Thursday when we are off duty as we can no longer afford
the ever rising bus fares. In fact, our salaries are just too low to commute
to and from work," one security guard said.
Petrol attendants said they were the hardest hit of the low-income earners.
"We are only getting $500 000 a week as wages. The situation has been
worsened by the current shortage of fuel as our employers argue they cannot
increase the wages when their garages are empty for the better part of the
month," said a petrol attendant with a leading petroleum company.
On how he was managing to survive on the wage, the attendant said: "The
moment fuel is delivered, life changes. Unoto dealer dealer semurume.
Ikangouya chete nhamo yoto pera (Once fuel is available we turn to dealing.
If the product is available we do not complain)."
Petrol attendants are linked to fuel black marketeering.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Lovemore Matombo said
while the majority of the low-income earners fall under the Commercial and
Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (CAWUZ), their employers were giving them a
raw deal.
He said the workers must be paid a minimum of $3 million a month as agreed
by the sector.
"The basic salary for a security guard and other workers who fall under the
commercial workers sector is $3 million a month, nothing less. Any employer
who is paying employees anything less than that is infringing on their
rights and the sector agreement," Matombo said.
The ZCTU leader said most employers in the sector were taking advantage of
the high unemployment rate to abuse staff.
Zimbabwe's unemployment rate is estimated to be over 70 percent.
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche,
could not comment on the plight of the low-income earners yesterday.
"I do not conduct interviews over the phone. How do I know I am talking to
somebody from The Daily Mirror over the phone? The procedure is that you
book an interview with my secretary first," Goche said.
Goche is the chairperson of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum - a body made
up of representatives of the government, employers and labour - tasked with
dealing with issues of pricing and incomes, among others.
Recently employers, through the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ),
said it was not prudent to increase salaries in line with the current
poverty datum line as it would trigger a sharp increase in inflation - the
country's number one economic enemy.
Inflation is currently pegged at 411 percent.Zimbabwe over the past five
years has seen a 40 percent decline in economy, characterised by
unemployment pegged at 70 percent, poverty 75 percent and with a domestic
debt estimated to be over $10 trillion.
However, the government is making strenuous efforts to make sure that sanity
returns to the economy through various means.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Yarls Wood hunger strikers taken to hospital

From The Bedford Times & Citizen (UK), 7 December

Two of the six Zimbabwean hunger strikers at Yarls Wood have been taken to
Bedford Hospital after refusing meals for a month. Thando Mpofu, 28, and
Amanda Sibiya, 21, were admitted on Monday. They are protesting against
threatened deportation from the detention centre near Clapham. A doctor's
report said that the women were at high risk of suffering from a mild form
of brain damage - or Wernicke's encephalopathy - unless re-feeding was
carried out at hospital. Four other women refugees are still reported to be
refusing meals at Yarls Wood. Miss Mpofu claimed at the beginning of their
strike that they faced torture or death at the hands of the Zimbabwean
government if they were forced home. They had fled to South Africa to escape
political persecution and torture in Zimbabwe, they said. But some of them
suffered further persecution at the notorious Lindela repatriation camp in
South Africa, they said. The women are waiting for solicitors to represent
their case to stay in Britain the Home Office. Niki Adams, a spokesman for
Legal Action for Women (LAW) - which has been contacted by over 40 women at
Yarl's Wood - said: "A shockingly high proportion of the women in Yarl's
Wood face imminent removal yet have no lawyer to represent them. "In many
cases their asylum claims were refused without all the evidence of the rape
and other torture they suffered being properly considered."


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition faction seeks leader suspension

Reuters

Wed Dec 7, 2005 5:11 PM GMT

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE (Reuters) - The split that has weakened Zimbabwe's main opposition
party deepened further on Wednesday when one faction asked a court to
enforce the suspension of the party's leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe's High Court should compel the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) to respect an order suspending him from the party,
said a court submission by leaders of the anti-Tsvangirai faction.

The MDC is the largest opposition to President Robert Mugabe's government
but to the delight of the ruling ZANU-PF party it split last month over
whether to contest elections for the senate.

Senior officials led by MDC Vice-President Gibson Sibanda and
Secretary-General Welshman Ncube fielded candidates for the elections in
defiance of a call by Tsvangirai to boycott the poll eventually won by
Mugabe's party.

The splinter group then wrote a letter of suspension to Tsvangirai, saying
he had flouted the party's laws by making the boycott decree but Tsvangirai
fought back, dismissing the letter as invalid.

On Wednesday the faction took its case to the High Court to seek an order
compelling Tsvangirai to respect the suspension.

"Basically ... we want the court to make him observe the terms of the
suspension," Garikayi Mandizha, a lawyer for the anti-Tsvangirai faction
said after a chambers' hearing closed to the media.

High Court judge Yunus indicated he would rule on the matter at a later
date, Mandizha added.

Tsvangirai argued that the November 26 senate poll was aimed at tightening
Mugabe's hold on power and had been rigged in advance to secure a ZANU-PF
win.

In papers filed with the court, Tsvangirai's legal team said the
disciplinary committee that suspended the MDC leader was not empowered to do
so because no hearing had been held to find him guilty of an offence.

Analysts say the split could permanently weaken the party.

Zimbabwe faces an economic crisis but Mugabe denies responsibility saying
domestic and international opponents have sabotaged the economy in
retaliation for his programme of seizing white-owned commercial farms for
redistribution to blacks.

--------

From: T W Bango
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 10:28 PM
Subject: Tsvangirai in court?

High Court Judge, Yunus Omerjee, today reserved judgement in a hearing
seeking an enforcement order to a purported suspension of President
Tsvangirai. Until that judgement is delivered, and unless the order is
granted, Mr Tsvangirai shall continue performing his duties in a routine and
normal way.

T W Bango


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC Press:

7 December 2005

MDC PRESS

Press Statement By Hon. Timothy Mubhawu, MP Tafara Mabvuku Constituency

I note with very strong objections that an unfortunate incident involving
some misguided elements of my constituency and which has absolutely nothing
to do with MDC national politics or the President is now being used by
political opportunists bend on collaborating with Zanu PF to smear the image
of President Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC.

I want to state unequivocally that the incident while regrettable should not
be used by opportunists to further their sordid and nefarious agenda.

I remain committed to the central values and objectives of the MDC under the
leadership of its legitimately elected President, Morgan Tsvangirai.

I do not need the sympathy of those who have joined Zanu PF with an agenda
of destroying a party for which I have sacrificed so much and for so long.

The President of the party has taken a position on that incident and action
will ensue. The matter rests there.

Mr. Paul Themba Nyathi must not masquerade as sympathizer to my cause
because he is not. More importantly Mr. Nyathi is no longer the spokesperson
of the party.

Hon. T. Mubhawu, MP
----------------

7 December 2005

To Whom It May Concern:

Kindly be advised that Hon Nelson Chamisa is now the Secretary for Information and Publicity of the MDC following the dis-appointment of Paul Themba Nyathi on 1 December 2005. Since then, Nyathi speaks on his own behalf. He does not represent the official views of the MDC.

Mr. Nyathi served as a policy secretary at the pleasure of President of the MDC. He is not an officer of Congress.

May it please you that on Thursday last week, the National Council, in its wisdom, resolved to exercise its freedom of association and de-linked itself from Mr. Nyathi and others for reasons which are already in the public domain -- until after the Congress in February.

Following that resolution, the President has appointed Hon Chamisa to the post of Secretary for Information and Publicity.

Hon Chamisa retains his position as Secretary for Youth in the party.


Morgan Tsvangirai
President.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Government asked to intervene in Cricket crisis



By Staff writer

7 December 2005

Stakeholders in Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) decided at a crisis meeting in
Harare on Wednesday to ask the government to help resolve the game's
problems.

Zimbabwe Cricket vice-chairman Ahmed Ebrahim has written a letter to
be delivered on Thursday to the Sports Commission seeking their intervention
and assistance.

He told Reuters Harare that he has highlighted a number of resolutions
which he believes should be put in place, such as the call for a full
forensic audit and also for a committee to manage the daily running of the
institution (ZC)

Plans were afoot to remove ZC chairman Peter Chingoka but Ebrahim said
the meeting, attended by board members and provincial chairmen, did not draw
enough support.

"If we had a quorum from the board we could have made resolutions.
That wasn't there," Ebrahim said. He added that Chingoka, who did not attend
the meeting, had asked him to postpone it.

Meanwhile Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bvute, the chairman and managing
director of Zimbabwe Cricket, were released from police custody on Wednesday
after being questioned about their foreign exchange dealings.
Bvute told Reuters from Harare that they were released without charge
and without restriction. The pair had been arrested on Monday under the
Exchange Control Act.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Implats holds talks with Zimbabwe on properties

Reuters

Wed Dec 7, 2005 5:20 PM GMT

By Eric Onstad

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Implats said on Wednesday it had
held talks with Zimbabwe about its extensive properties there, which
analysts said might result in joint ventures as Harare seeks to boost its
economy with quick development of new mines.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday that his government was
negotiating with Implats' local unit Zimplats for a state firm to exploit
"under-utilised" claims in a joint venture with a Chinese firm.

Impala Platinum Holdings, the world's second biggest platinum producer, has
delayed a major expansion in Zimbabwe due to uncertainties there.

Implats spokesman Bob Gilmour confirmed that talks had taken place, but
declined to give details.

"We have held exploratory talks with the ministry of mines. And these
discussions are centred on looking at various options regarding the Zimplats
tenements, but they'll have no impact on our previously stated expansion
plans," he told Reuters.

Implats has held no talks with any Chinese parties, he added.

Implats targets most of its growth in Zimbabwe, which has some of the
richest platinum group metal (PGM) ore deposits outside of South Africa.

The company wants to boost output by a quarter to 2.3 million ounces by
2010, mainly from expansion in Zimbabwe. In the long term, output in
Zimbabwe has the potential to rise to around one million ounces, the firm
has said.

Zimplats, 83 percent owned by Implats, is due to eventually increase output
by 70 percent to 145,000 ounces per year.

A Johannesburg analyst who declined to be named said Zimbabwe had legitimate
concerns about one company having control over such large mining resources.

Central Bank governor Gideon Gono has said he hopes that mining can
contribute to increased growth in the country that has been suffering its
worst economic crisis in decades.

"Look there's 300 million ounces of PGMs (on Implats' properties), that's an
awful lot. I can understand why the Zimbabwe government has a right to
question whether or not one company should be allowed to sit on all of
that," the analyst said.

Implats had 10 planned mine shafts outlined in its expansion plans and there
were other properties outside of those that could be contributed to other
ventures, if necessary, he said.

"I suspect that if Implats were able to get involved in a JV with a partner,
like a Chinese company for example, they wouldn't be averse to that."

But Mugabe might also be threatening to introduce new players on Zimplats
properties to put pressure on Implats to launch its projects, he added.

"I'm not sure one should take those comments completely seriously, it just
might be sabre-rattling."

Implats, despite its oft-stated concerns about the security of its mining
licences and use of foreign exchange accounts, would probably soon launch an
expansion in Zimbabwe to reassure the government, the analyst said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

KK to Visit Mugabe



The Post (Lusaka)

December 6, 2005
Posted to the web December 7, 2005

Brighton Phiri
Lusaka

DR Kaunda is today expected to leave for Zimbabwe to meet President Robert
Mugabe over the economic and political situation in that country.

And Dr Kaunda has started his sign language lessons to improve his
communication skills with persons with disabilities.

Dr Kaunda confirmed his trip yesterday saying he would carry with him a
message of solidarity for President Mugabe.

"I will carry with me a message of solidarity...I am just visiting an old
friend, who has gone through difficulties," Dr Kaunda said. "My visit is a
call on my friend in view of what was being reported about what was
happening in Zimbabwe."

Dr Kaunda said he would engage President Mugabe over the situation in
Zimbabwe.

Dr Kaunda said he was provoked to undertake a visit to President Mugabe by
the Western countries' continued acts of demonising him over the lands
reforms that his government had embarked on.

"I want to learn from Comrade Mugabe on how he sees things in Zimbabwe
unlike how we are being told by the Western countries," Dr Kaunda said.

Dr Kaunda said it was sad that acts of demonising President Mugabe came from
the people that gave false promises during

the consultations over Zimbabwe's independence at Lancaster

House in London.

"This is terrible...I cannot understand why such demonising acts

are coming from people who cheated the Zimbabwean

delegation at Lancaster House," Dr Kaunda said. "The British

government pleaded with Comrade Mugabe and his colleagues not to discuss the
land issues before they do something about

it...they promised to fund the land reforms within a period of 10

years...between 1980 and 1990."

He wondered why the British government had remained silent

over their failure to honour their promise.

Dr Kaunda said Zimbabweans suffered when the British

nationals grabbed fertile land from them and yet no one spoke for

them.

"Is Comrade Mugabe paying for keeping alive Ian Douglas Smith

and other criminals? Something is wrong somewhere," he said.

Dr Kaunda is expected back tomorrow after his private talks with

President Mugabe.

On his lessons, Dr Kaunda said he found it prudent to learn sign

language because his Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa

Foundation had embarked on programmes that involved persons

with disabilities.

He said persons with disabilities were not usually involved in HIV

and AIDS prevention programmes.

Back to the Top
Back to Index