White-owned companies in Zimbabwe are to be forced to hand majority control
to black businessmen in a move that could lead to chaos rivalling the
seizure of the country's commercial farms.
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Sebastien Berger
Published: 5:46PM GMT 09 Feb 2010
The new regulations demand that all foreign and locally owned companies hand
over at least 51 per cent ownership to black Zimbabweans.
Thousands of firms, including the Zimbabwean operations of giants such as
Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and the mining company Rio Tinto,
will be affected, and they must submit their plans to comply by March 1.
Owners who fail to comply could be jailed.
The new law plunged the unity government into deeper crisis. Morgan
Tsvangirai, the leader of the former opposition Movement for Democratic
Change turned prime minister in the coalition, told The Daily Telegraph the
move had been made without his knowledge.
"I am in charge of all policy formulations by cabinet and these regulations
were gazetted without being seen by either myself or cabinet," he said.
"They were published without due process and in contravention of the global
political agrement [which set up the coalition] and constitution of Zimbabwe
and are therefore null and void."
The new law will come as a huge blow to the efforts of Tendai Biti, a former
opposition politician who is now finance minister in the coalition
government, to persuade foreign investors to pour money into the country to
rebuild its shattered economy.
The move dates back to an indigenisation bill passed by the previous
parliament, in which President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party had a majority,
before the violence-wracked election of 2008 in which the MDC won control of
The law had been on hold until supplementary regulations were drawn up by
the government, which quietly published them in an official gazette at the
end of last week, with no formal announcement.
Indigenous Zimbabweans are defined as anyone who before independence in
April 1980 was "disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his
or her race and any descendant of such person". As such white Zimbabweans
are excluded, and the position of Zimbabwean Asians, some of whose families
have been in the country for generations, is open to question.
Whites are barred from some sectors altogether, including agriculture,
retail and transport, as well as barbers, bakeries and beauty parlours.
Harare's business community was left in shock by the development. A banker
who did not want his name or his bank identified said: "This is absolute
A fuel trader, who asked not to be identified, said: "These regulations are
theft of any business in whites have an interest, it's just like the farms."
Nick Cobban, a spokesman for Rio Tinto, described the regulations as
"draconian and unworkable".
The company operates a small diamond mine in Zimbabwe which it considers has
potential for expansion, but it has not taken a decision to do so "partly
because of the uncertainty".
Some sectors could win an exception from the 51 per cent requirement, he
pointed out, and the Chamber of Mines was negotiating on the issue.
"We remain encouraged by the fact that there still is dialogue," he said.
But he added: "This will have to be eventually agreed by the indigenisation
Alistair Smith, director of media relations for Barclays Group, said the
firm was "considering the implications".
Under the rules avoiding black majority shareholdings will be a criminal
offence and while companies have five years to comply, the effects will be
felt long before then.
Daniel Ndlela, Zimbabwe's most eminent regional economist said: "There will
be no foreign investment into Zimbabwe. Why would anyone come into Zimbabwe
with $100 and be left with $49? It sends a very wrong message and those who
might have invested in Zimbabwe will now never come."
Another economist, John Robertson, said many local industries will go
bankrupt. "They will have to bring in people who know nothing about their
businesses which will put off investors and demotivate company owners."
It is not clear exactly how the 51 per cent stake is supposed to be
acquired. But under neighbouring South Africa's black empowerment programme,
banks have leant large sums to black businesses to enable them to buy shares
in major companies, often at a discount.
Zimbabwe's unity government is already deeply troubled, with the MDC
accusing Zanu-PF of not keeping to the political agreement that set it up,
and the regulations amount to a political slap in the face for the former
Mr Biti could not be reached for comment. But an MDC insider said: "It is
unlikely that Biti knew about this as he is desperate for investment into
Saviour Kasukuwere, the Zanu-PF minister of Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment, who is responsible for the regulations,
said: "There were wide consultations with stakeholders ahead of publication
of these regulations and there is flexibility available.
"We are not trying to damage the investment climate in Zimbabwe."
February 9, 2010
White businesspeople in Zimbabwe who don't cede control of their companies
to black partners could face jail under a law going into effect next month.
An official notice Tuesday says the law will be enforced from March 1, and
includes jail penalties of up to five years.
It gives companies worth $500 000 or more 45 days to submit compliance
proposals. Foreign investors also need to meet an "empowerment quota."
The law passed by the Harare parliament when it was still dominated by
President Robert Mugabe's lawmakers in 2008 is meant to benefit "indigenous"
Zimbabweans - those who suffered under colonial-era racial discrimination
and their children born after independence in 1980.
That effectively excludes the nation's 20 000 whites. - Sapa-AP
By Jan Raath Feb 9, 2010, 18:20 GMT
Harare - Regulations published Tuesday in Zimbabwe declaring that large
companies must hand blacks a 51 per cent stake within five years were
summarily dismissed as 'null and void' by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The regulations, passed under two-year-old black empowerment legislation,
say that by mid-April, all businesses with assets valued over 500,000
dollars will have to submit to the government a form detailing the racial
composition of their current shareholding.
The power-sharing government, headed by President Robert Mugabe, would then
decide how much of its shareholding is to be 'ceded' to 'indigenous'
'I am in charge of all policy formation in cabinet and neither myself nor
the cabinet were shown these regulations before they were gazetted,' former
opposition leader Tsvangirai said in a statement. 'They were published
without due process as detailed in the constitution and are therefore null
A maximum penalty of five years in jail faces any business that misses the
deadline, according to the regulations.
The same penalty awaits whites who use black employees as 'fronts,'
according to the law. The country's minister of indigenisation will keep of
list of 'suitable candidates', to whom shares can be ceded.
'We are trying to come up with policies that attract investment into the
country,' said Tsvangirai's spokesman, James Maridadi. 'The thrust is to
portray Zimbabwe as a safe destination for investment. This is
counter-productive, it is old thinking.'
He said Tsvangirai was to meet with Mugabe over the issue. The prime
minister has also summoned Empowerment Minister Saviour Kusukuwere, a Mugabe
appointee, to a meeting Wednesday.
Political analysts say the promulgation of the law appears to be a
deliberate strategy by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to try and shore up its
shrinking support among the electorate. Mugabe has long used patronage as a
means to secure loyalty.
'It will obviously turn off investment very strongly,' said economist Tony
Hawkins. 'It doesn't matter who they are, the Chinese, everyone. And the
Chinese are the biggest investors.'
Companies most likely to be affected were foreign-owned, he said, and
investors on Zimbabwe's stock exchange.
Last week, Tsvangirai told big business at the World Economic Forum in
Switzerland that 'confidence has returned' to Zimbabwe following a decade of
economic collapse. 'This is the time to look at the country in a more
positive light,' he said.
Business executives expressed shock at the new laws. 'First they took the
farms, now they are taking businesses,' said one executive.
The regulations take effect on March 1 and companies have 45 days in which
to complete and submit to the government a form that gives the names,
nationality and identity details of their shareholders, and whether they are
'indigenous' or 'non-indigenous' Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe's racial profile has fundamentally changed since independence from
white minority rule nearly 30 years ago, when the economy was heavily
dominated by whites. Since then, the white population has fallen from
200,000 to around 30,000 and most major businesses are run by blacks.
At Davos last week, Rio Tinto diamonds and minerals chief executive Harry
Kenyon-Slaney, said 'the only threat to our operations is indigenization
By Violet Gonda
9 February 2010
The latest negotiations between the political parties in the coalition
government entered day two with still no progress. The talks resumed on
Monday after a break of over two weeks.
There is a media blackout on the sensitive proceeding stalling the full
implementation of the Global Political Agreement, signed in September 2008.
But sources close to the talks said there is still no movement on the
fundamental issues in dispute.
"The MDC-T maintains there is a deadlock, ZANU PF is not giving in on
anything and the MDC-M, on the other hand, is trying to prolong the dialogue
as long as it can," said one of the sources.
MDC-T Chief negotiator Tendai Biti is quoted saying: "You can't call these
'talks' because there is no talking. We are moving nowhere. We can't make
any movement on the key issues so there are no talks to talk about."
A South African team sent by President Jacob Zuma arrived in Harare on
Monday to facilitate the dialogue between the political parties and it's
reported the team, Charles Ngqakula, Lindiwe Zulu and Mac Maharaj had
scheduled more meetings with the negotiators on Tuesday.
Spokesperson for the MDC-T Nelson Chamisa told SW Radio Africa ZANU PF
remains inflexible and are simply running away from putting their signature
on issues already agreed upon. He said: "We continue to see this attitude of
(ZANU PF) speaking inclusivity but acting exclusivity - meaning they are
preaching inclusiveness but obviously practising exclusiveness, despite the
GPA being a shared compromise."
The MDC spokesperson said the South African facilitation will either help
break the impasse, or pronounce the negotiations deadlocked.
"We have insisted that we want finality, closure and conclusion of this
period of talking about talks. We now need to make sure we either agree to
move forward, or agree to disagree. And in the event that we agree to
disagree, we need to put in place an electoral management dispensation and
electoral framework that will usher in a period of free and fair elections."
The outstanding issues include disagreements over the appointments of
provincial governors, the Reserve Bank Governor, Attorney General and the
MDC's Deputy Minister of Agriculture appointee; the removal of sanctions,
external radio stations, and renewed land invasions, among other issues.
By Lance Guma
09 February 2010
A strike by civil servants protesting their poor wages continued to gather
steam on Tuesday after Monday's slow start unions have said. Tendai
Chikowore who heads the APEX Council that represents teachers, college
lecturers and other public sector workers said the majority of their members
are now on strike. She said they wanted government to respond to their
demands for improved wages and if this did not happen they would continue to
enforce the strike.
Civil servants want their wages increased from the current US$150 to US$630
and have since rejected a 10 percent offer from the government. Negotiations
broke down last week Tuesday and a rally by civil servants on Friday at the
Harare Gardens effectively launched the strike. Takavafira Zhou the
President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe is hopeful 100
percent of state workers will be on strike by the end of the week. He also
accused government of treating them 'like slaves.'
A teacher in Harare who spoke to Newsreel said most teachers had gone on
strike except for those who receive incentives from School Development
Associations. These mostly Group A schools are supplementing the wages paid
to their teachers by topping up their salaries. Tuesday's usual hustle and
bustle of commuters on the roads going to work was replaced by a general
quiet and deserted roads as workers stayed home.
The strike has mainly affected public schools, hospitals, government
departments and the courts. The trial of senior MDC official Roy Bennett for
example was postponed on Monday after court officials did not turn up.
Meanwhile Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is quoted as saying
government's 10 percent offer remains on the table. He said consultations
are still ongoing and when these are concluded the government will call for
another meeting with union representatives.
by Lindie Whiz
THREE Botswana game rangers held in Zimbabwe since January 19 were released
on Tuesday after they were fined US$100 for using an undesignated point of
entry, but acquitted on weapons charges.
The three men's detention in Zimbabwe had sparked a diplomatic spat, with
Botswana threatening to withdraw two of its senior diplomats in Harare by
month-end in protest.
Hwange magistrate Peter Madiba found the men in breach of Zimbabwe's
immigration laws, but struck off a second charge each man faced of smuggling
and possessing firearms and ammunition without a licence.
Kiabetswe Mhiko, 35, Gaetsho Simane, 32, and Petego Gaosengwe had all
entered 'not guilty' pleas. The rangers, all employed by Botswana's
Department of Wildlife and National Parks, insisted they inadvertently
entered Zimbabwe while pursuing a pride of lions which had killed six cattle
in the Lesoma Village.
The men were arrested at the Kazungula border post near Victoria Falls when
they presented themselves to Zimbabwean immigration officials.
Prosecutors said the rangers had no passports and a search of their car
yielded a rifle, a shotgun and several rounds of ammunition.
Botswana revealed it had tried unsuccessfully to raise the issue of the
rangers' detention with President Robert Mugabe at last week's African Union
summit in Ethiopia. Mugabe, officials said, refused to meet with a Botswana
On Monday, Zimbabwe's two Home Affairs Ministers Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo
Mohadi said they were surprised by Botswana's "overreaction" and insisted
the rangers must go through the court system.
Mohadi said: "Members of the Botswana Air Force have crossed the Zimbabwean
border before and the matter was resolved administratively.
"Last year, our two police officers strayed into Botswana and were arrested
and taken to Gaborone for trial. They were released after fully satisfying
the Botswana courts that they had no case to answer.
"Along the Shashi River, our people and cattle are often shot even if they
have not crossed into Botswana and we are concerned why Botswana is
overreacting over the arrest of its nationals who crossed our border armed
with two shotguns and ammunition for that matter."
Mutsekwa said Zimbabwe has no intention of escalating the hostilities with
"As the Zimbabwe government, we have no intentions of straining relations
between ourselves and Botswana because we share the same border and we
belong to the same continent."
By Tichaona Sibanda
9 February 2010
A three-member cabinet team led by Vice-President John Nkomo has been tasked
to summon editors from the state and independent media to discuss as a
matter of urgency 'hate speech' in the media.
On Friday, a top executive meeting of the country's inclusive government
comprising Robert Mugabe and his two Vice-Presidents, the Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, as well as the two deputy premiers met in Harare and
agreed hate speech should be a thing of the past.
The executive meeting called for the media in the country to promote
national healing, and advocated for penalties against media houses and
broadcasters that promote hate speech and violence.
It is understood that Mr Tsvangirai took great exception during the seven
hour meeting to the vicious propaganda war being waged against him, some of
his ministers and his party by the Ministry of Media, Information and
Publicity. Tsvangirai was reportedly dismayed by the unusually high dose of
toxic propaganda that accompanied all his foreign trips, while those by
Mugabe are always painted in a positive light.
Mugabe is believed to have strongly objected to the transmission of 'hate
messages' to Zimbabwe from 'pirate radio' stations based abroad. ZANU PF
insists the foreign-based stations, which include SW Radio Africa,
jeopardise the power-sharing unity government.
The issue of foreign-based stations was included in the September 2008
Global Political Agreement, which said Zimbabwean operators of such stations
should be encouraged to return and broadcast from Zimbabwean soil. But SW
Radio Africa station manager Gerry Jackson remains adamant that media reform
has not progressed far enough to make such a move advisable.
The Friday meeting appointed Nkomo, because of his former role as Minister
for National Healing and Reconciliation to head a team that includes MDC's
Nelson Chamisa and Webster Shamu from ZANU PF to engage the editors and read
them the 'riot act.'
Tsvangirai has been on the receiving end of a vicious war waged by the state
media who exclusively receive their orders from George Charamba, the
permanent secretary in the ministry of Information and Publicity.
The MDC last year singled out Charamba as the chief culprit in the
propaganda campaign charging that the public media has been abused to become
the theatre and arena of maligning and vilifying its leadership and members
at the expense of covering pertinent issues affecting the ordinary man and
'The MDC regards the lampooning and hate speech against its ministers and
officials as a threat to the Global Political Agreement. We are worried
about the threat posed to the longevity of the GPA by a retinue of sulking
remnants from the old order which is hell-bent on undermining the hope that
had begun to be engendered by the inclusive government,' the MDC said.
Simon Muchemwa, our Harare correspondent said it was hard to see how the
principals would deal with hate speech since they were the masters of
manipulating information to influence public opinion.
Usually a propaganda campaign is aimed at winning the hearts and minds of
citizens but Muchemwa says those peddling the propaganda campaign for ZANU
PF are infact arousing anger among citizens than anything else.
'Most Zimbabweans have since stopped watching or listening to ZBC news or
reading state dailies. They opt for online publications on the internet or
watch foreign stations on satellite channels. It's remarkable how they take
every statement from the state media with a pinch of salt,' Muchemwa added.
By Alex Bell
09 February 2010
Zimbabwe's commercial farmers are once again set to approach the human
rights court of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
challenge the dismissal of a landmark SADC ruling on the land 'reform'
In a ruling that came as a hard won victory for Zimbabwe's commercial
farmers, the SADC Tribunal ruled in 2008 that Robert Mugabe's land grab
campaign was illegal. But the government has ignored the Tribunal's orders,
eventually landing itself in contempt of court for not adhering to the SADC
ruling. The government even openly snubbed the court by saying it was 'no
longer recognised in the country,' despite Zimbabwe being a signatory to the
SADC Treaty and therefore bound by SADC law to respect the court.
The refusal to adhere to the ruling did not stop the farmers from trying to
have it registered within the country's courts, a move necessary to have the
ruling enforced. But last month, High Court Judge Barack Patel dismissed
efforts to have the ruling registered and further dismissed the ruling
itself, saying it was a threat to 'the greater good' of Zimbabwe.
The move has come as a shock to the country's handful of remaining
commercial farmers, many of whom are still fighting to keep their land from
being taken over by 'beneficiaries' of Mugabe's selective land reacquisition
scheme. The farmers are now returning to the Tribunal to challenge the High
The SADC Tribunal Registrar Charles Mkandawire told SW Radio Africa on
Tuesday that the court's rulings are final and binding, but added the
Tribunal does not have the power to enforce those rulings in Zimbabwe. He
explained that the government's decision to 'pull out' of the Tribunal was
null and void, arguing that Zimbabwe is still a signed SADC member state.
"As far as we are concerned Zimbabwe is still part of SADC and according to
Article 16 of the SADC Treaty, the decision of the Tribunal is final and
binding," Mkandawire said.
Mkandawire continued that the Tribunal, as an 'impartial body', can advise
SADC heads of state how to deal with the matter, but said the "full
machinations of the law in Zimbabwe must first be exhausted."
Meanwhile, as the ongoing seizures of farms under the guise of land 'reform'
continue, a new law published on Tuesday is set to further dissuade possible
foreign investment. Any white owned company in Zimbabwe will be expected to
hand over more than 50% of its shares to black Zimbabweans and the
government, according to the draconian style law. The so-called
'Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment' regulations prescribe that by
mid-April, all businesses have to submit a form detailing the racial make-up
of their current shareholders to the government. Based on that declaration,
the government will assess how much of the company's shares had to be 'ceded'
to 'indigenous Zimbabweans.'
Any business missing this deadline could face a maximum penalty of five
years in jail, according to the regulations. The Ministry of Indigenisation
is reportedly set to keep a list of 'suitable candidates' to whom shares can
be ceded, a move which is likely to benefit only the well connected, much
like the land 'reform' programme.
February 9, 2010
Fresh elections are the only way to a lasting solution for Zimbabwe, the MDC
in South Africa said on Tuesday.
"We sincerely believe that SADC [Southern African Development Community]
must now shift its attention and start organising the new election sooner
than soonest instead of romanticising a loser of election [President Robert
Mugabe]," said MDC chairman in South Africa Austin Moyo at a media briefing
in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
The briefing was held as South Africa negotiators returned to Harare in a
bid to iron out the troubles plaguing Zimbabwe's unity government.
"This [elections] should be started by breathing life into a new
constitution and electoral Act."
Moyo told of an increase in farm attacks in Zimbabwe and attempts to strip
power from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai by Zanu-PF in the power sharing
Problems in governance in the southern African country include alleged
attempts by Zanu-PF to cling on to power.
The global power-sharing agreement, which will be a year old on Thursday,
stated that a new constitution had to be in place before fresh elections
could be held.
The agreement stipulated that the constitution should be finalised within 18
months. However, Moyo charged that attempts to finalise the constitution
were being frustrated by Zanu-PF.
This is because, said Moyo, the current constitution favoured Zanu-PF.
Moyo wants the South African delegation to put aside all other aspects of
the negotiation and push for the finalisation of a new constitution. - Sapa
Eyewitness News | 3 Hours Ago
Two executives of a South African firm were arrested in Zimbabwe on Tuesday
on charges of stealing diamonds from the controversial Chiadzwa diamond
The two work for Canadile Miners, a joint venture between a South African
company and the Zimbabwean government.
The men were arrested at a roadblock near Hot Springs, a holiday resort
where most of the Chiadzwa mining personnel are camped.
Their lawyer, Victor Mazengero, told Eyewitness News he cannot speak to the
press until he has permission from his clients. But reports said the two
were found with 57 diamonds worth R280 000. The diamonds were apparently
packed in plastic in their car.
The arrests will only heighten the controversy over the Chiadzwa diamonds
and the companies selected to exploit them.
MPs have been hearing that one of the firms chosen by the Mines minister has
no history in diamond mining.
There are also claims that some of the members of Canadile's board have been
accused of gem smuggling in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
by Own Correspondent Wednesday 10 February 2010
HARARE - CITES secretary general Willem Wijnstekers has arrived in Zimbabwe
on four-day working visit which will see him meeting Prime Minister (PM)
Morgan Tsvangirai and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa over rampant
poaching decimating wildlife in the southern African country and said to
involve top politicians and army officials.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES) chief who jetted into Harare late Monday will also meet
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Environment Minister Francis Nhema and
other senior government officials.
According to the official programme, Wijnstekers will meet the PM on
Wijnstekers will discuss with Mnangagwa the alleged involvement of senior
military officers in poaching while he seeks to establish from Chinamasa
security measures put in place to curb illegal killing of protected wildlife
and measures taken against those caught poaching including the levels of
"Zimbabwe welcomes the visit by the CITES secretary general as it affords an
opportunity to interact with political leadership thus ensuring long term
sustainable wildlife management policies," department of National Parks and
Wildlife Management said in statement.
The CITES boss is accompanied by John Sellar, chief enforcement officer
responsible for providing technical advice and support in relation to the
enforcement of the Convention, said the statement.
"He monitors illegal trade in wildlife and liaises with law enforcement
agencies at the national, regional and international levels, particularly
Interpol and the World Customs Organisation. He also coordinates work by
CITES Enforcement Task Forces and the CITES Enforcement Expert group."
After his arrival Wijnstekers proceeded on a private visit to the largely
white-owned Save Conservancy that has suffered poaching while some parts of
the reserve have been invaded by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU PF party.
Zimbabwean officials last week expressed displeasure that the CITES chief
would tour the top private game conservancy during his visit to the country,
saying he would be only told that which suits whites interests and the
government will not be able to defend itself.
The visit comes after a report in December by TRAFFIC, IUCN and three other
wildlife organisations said Zimbabwe and South Africa have the highest
incidences of poaching on the continent.
Wijnstekers is the current CITES secretary general and he supervises the
global implementation of CITES and its strategic vision. He is also
responsible for policy formulation and direction within the secretariat.
Poaching has been rife in Zimbabwe since landless black villagers began
invading - with tacit approval from the government - white-owned farms and
game conservancies over the past nine years.
Some of the country's biggest state-owned nature and game conservancies
including Gonarezhou National Park that forms part of the Great Limpopo
Transfrontier straddling across Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa have
large parts occupied by villagers.
In many cases farm invaders poach animals for meat and cut down trees for
sale as firewood mostly to people living in urban areas.
But there has also been an upsurge in the poaching of endangered species
such as the rhino targeted for its horn that is exported mainly to China and
Vietnam where it is in huge demand. International syndicates working with
local gangs are said to be behind rhino poaching.
There have also been reports of illegal and uncontrolled trophy hunting on
former white-owned conservancies now controlled by powerful government
officials and ZANU PF politicians.
The government however denies politicians are illegally hunting game and
insists it still has poaching under control. - ZimOnline
by Lunga Sibanda
HOPES were fading on Tuesday for a successful rescue of six miners trapped
in a collapsed mine tunnel in Gwanda since Friday last week.
The rescue effort has been hampered by lack of equipment and experienced
The rescuers, many using shovels and other hand tools, have been working
around the clock to get to the men.
Officials at the Antenior gold mine believe the six miners are 50m below
ground and by noon Tuesday, they had dug up at least 25m.
The rescue operation was expected to gather pace later Tuesday with
specialist equipment and personnel expected to arrive from Shabanie Mine in
Matabeleland South Police Spokesman Inspector Tafanana Dzirutwe said: "The
Civil Protection Unit has been helping but the shortcoming they are having
is getting experienced personnel on the ground because of lack of
Dzirutwe expressed fears the rescue effort could claim more victims.
"The mine is very unstable," he said.
A source at the site of the accident, speaking by telephone, told New
Zimbabwe.com late Tuesday that rescuers had heard a "faint lone voice" -
heightening fears the miners are either cut off from each other or others
may be dead.
Antenior Mine was previously registered to one Douglas Starling, but is
currently being operated by a man identified only as Siduli.
Siduli, according to sources, hires workers with poor training who are sent
into the underground tunnels using mainly unconventional mining methods.
The mine also has a problem with gold panners who have given the mine's
shafts names to symbolise a HOME setting, according to sources. The area
where the miners are trapped is known as the KITCHEN.
February 9, 2010
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - Mines under Shabanie Mashava Mines (SMM) Holdings, seized from
exiled Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere by the government six years
ago, face closure due to viability problems.
The problems have resulted in workers at the mines being sent on forced
SMM is the largest asbestos producer in the country.
The mines have been facing serious viability problems worsened by the
persistent power cuts and low asbestos prices.
Mawere lost his empire in 2004 after the government said his companies were
indebted to the state and were seized using the Reconstruction of
State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act.
At that time, SMM was said to owe government-owned institutions such as RBZ,
ZESA, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Treasury money. However, Mawere denied
the claims, and attempted without success to have the seizure rescinded in
The mines have struggled under the management of a government-appointed
One of the mines, Gaths Mine, the largest underground mine at Mashava, is
struggling to settle an electricity debt which, this week, stood at US$1
The future of at least 1000 workers is bleak after they were sent on forced
leave starting February 1.
It also emerged Monday that some of the workers had gone for 14 months
without pay as viability problems continued to cripple the once thriving
In a letter dated January 25, management advised all workers that they
should stop reporting for work starting February 1 until further notice.
"You are advised that with effect from 1 February you are all advised not to
report for work due to viability problems," read part of the letter.
"Persistent power cuts and lack of funding have affected the company
resulting in serious cash flow problems".
Although no official comment could be obtained from the government appointed
administrator Alfias Gwaradzimba, managers who spoke on condition of
anonymity said that the situation at the two mines was very serious.
"The situation here is terrible," said one of the managers. "Underfunding,
low asbestos prices and power cuts have affected business.
"We have since sent nearly half of our workforce on forced leave until the
"We are appealing to government to look for investors to chip in or just
allow former owner Mutumwa Mawere to come back."
Workers at the two mines last year went on a strike demanding payment of
salaries. At least three striking workers were shot dead by the police while
others, including union leaders, were arrested.
Last year, Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara called on government to
grant amnesty to Mawere, among other exiled businessmen, as a way of
restoring investor confidence in the country.
Mawere lives in South Africa.
Zimbabwe needs an agrarian reform programme that transfers technologies,
imparts skills, and economically empowers real farmers—both smallholder and
commercial—in an equitable manner that reduces poverty, corrects a colonial
wrong, creates food self-sufficiency and security of tenure.
In July 2009, a five-member Presidential Land Resettlement Committee
appointed by Mugabe completed its land allocation audit and once again
unearthed widespread evidence of corrupt allocations and the use of violence
by senior politicians and military officers to evict landless smallholder
farmers, the very people Mugabe claimed the fast track land policy sought
The 2010 land audit is essential if as a nation, we are to permanently bring
to a close the contentious issue of land reform that must not be allowed to
become a burden for future generations. Zimbabwe must attract investments
and focus on other means of production and infrastructure development with
land ownership being the cornerstone for such national endeavours.
Chegumi means “ten percent” in the vernacular and is a religious term
referring to tithing, which has unfortunately been selfishly bastardised and
converted into corrupt ZANU (PF) vocabulary. As part of its well-oiled
propaganda machinery, church hymns, and other religious passages, have also
fallen foul to manipulation and Mugabe is equated to the “son of God” by his
It is only those with a total lack of conscience and insatiable greed who
demand chegumi for performing their duties as civil servants. This alien
culture of dishonesty has gone unchecked in government since independence
and has now morphed into a more primitive and sinister policy of entitlement
within the ruling class.
The current fast track land acquisition programme—2000 to present—is the
fourth land allocation programme since independence; the same persons and
their families who have been looting national assets all along are raiding
the farms again for self enrichment. The poor are getting poorer while the
robbery on productive farms has made Zimbabwe’s food security precarious.
On 10 January 2010, ZANU (PF) announced that, “We fought the armed struggle
to gain political power and economic power and we believe we have a right to
this twenty percent we are asking for. War vets are some of the poorest
people around despite the work that they have done for this country”.
Compounded with the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, which proposes the
transfer of fifty-one percent of all ownership into the hands of a few
handpicked shareholders, state theft of businesses becomes law in Zimbabwe.
War veterans now feel entitled to owning twenty percent of all national
assets, which includes all land, minerals, natural resources, dams, schools,
government jobs and taxes.
The war veterans’ entitlement statement is tired and lacks honour. What do
the millions of villagers who gave logistical and moral support to freedom
fighters during the war get? Do they not deserve a share of the national
cake? Did ZANU (PF) go to war in a vacuum, only to hold the whole country at
ransom and demand to be paid for “our liberation”?
What kind of a society are we creating if ownership of land or property in
Zimbabwe requires war credentials?
Herewith, a plethora of self-enrichment and “war veteran” payment schemes
since independence: VIP Housing Scheme, VIP Farm Leases, VIP Car Scheme,
Scholarship Fund, Farm Input Scheme, Tractor Schemes, Hunting Concessions,
Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs); created by like-minded
“revolutionaries” for their own compensatory benefit for participating in
the war of liberation:
War Victims’ Compensation Fund
In 1997, the fund had been looted to the tune of Z$450 million (US$44
million at the time), by senior officials in ZANU (PF). Government, for the
benefit of former war combatants, whose military service between December 23
1972 and February 29 1980 had resulted in “physical disabilities”, set up
the compensation fund for what officials called “post-traumatic stress
Reward Marufu, Grace Mugabe‘s brother, who cited "ulcers and a scar on the
left knee" became a beneficiary. He was rendered one hundred percent
disabled through injuries sustained during the war of liberation. He was
awarded ZW$822 668 (at the time US$70 000.00) for his injuries, the highest
single claim ever disbursed under the fund.
In 1996, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri was listed among those who
allegedly defrauded the War Victims Compensation Fund and assessed to be
ninety percent disabled after being diagnosed with "dermatitis of both
Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe was
paid ZW$90 249 for "poly-arthritis and mental stress disorder".
Vice President Joyce Mujuru also qualified for compensation on account of
alleged “poor eye-sight and mental stress”.
By the time the massive fraud was exposed, seventy thousand applicants had
defrauded the Ministry of Labour and Social Services of more than ZW$450
million, a staggering figure in 1996.
On 14 November 1997, genuine war veterans protested upon discovery that the
War Victims Compensation Fund had been looted by ZANU (PF) leaders and their
acolytes. Mugabe, cornered by his lieutenants, was forced to commit to
giving every war veteran a once‐off payment of Z$50,000 and a monthly
pension of ZW$2000.
This act of awarded unbudgeted-for gratuities was involuntary as much as the
land reform was not a priority for ZANU (PF) until after the referendum.
“Dhora radonha” the Zimbabwe dollar fell against the US dollar to 40:1 and
thus began the precipitous decline of our economy without any sanctions.
The government, which did not have money for the payments, introduced a five
percent War Veterans Levy and work stoppages and strikes ensued. Zimbabweans
were already reeling from drought, fuel and other levies, over and above the
highest income and corporate taxation in sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, ZANU
(PF) started printing money, began a military adventure in the Congo, and
embarked on farm evictions to appease its agitated supporters.
In 1995, the Cabinet overrode the Government Tender Board and gave the
Harare International Airport contract to AHT, even though their price was
Z$300 million higher than the others. Leo Mugabe, Mugabe’s nephew, was the
Where did all this money go? Do we need an audit?
In 1997, the drought levy was converted into a permanent development levy.
The government introduced a ten percent levy on tobacco earnings and a tax
on people using company cars.
Government ministers that year bought themselves new Mercedes Benz vehicles
under the pretext that these were to be used by foreign heads of state
during the World Solar Summit held in Harare in September 1996. The same
ministers then bought their old Mercedes Benz cars from the government for
between ZW$6 000 and ZW$10 000, yet the market value of these cars was
around ZW$250 000.
Today, greasing the palms of the Minister of Lands now produces an offer
letter that gives a member of the party ownership rights to an agricultural
business whose shareholders—not being ZANU (PF)—are evicted. To expedite
allocation of fertiliser, tractors and fuel ministry officials are paid a
percentage; this has become so much the standard that Zimbabweans now call
it chegumi (10%).
Recently, the BBC news reported that one cabinet minister, who did not want
to be named, defended the president's conduct of owning twelve farms as
follows: "If it's true that Mugabe owned more than one farm, we mustn't
forget he is the ‘father of the nation’. He spent over a decade in jail
fighting for your freedom. Don't compare yourself, or even me, with him."
This statement strikes at the core of ZANU (PF)’s psyche and renders every
person outside of Mugabe’s party mere mortals who are not entitled to a
share of national assets and must only be happy with what he gives us.
Creating a persona that makes him the “father of Zimbabwe” subconsciously
carries psychological and cultural symbolism that reduces everyone else to
childlike beings and unable to challenge “the father”.
It explains why there is a dearth of men without the testicular fortitude to
challenge Mugabe in ZANU (PF): they are all children or those that are as
old as he is, behave in bizarre acts of submission, and tremble before him
in scenes reminiscent to prehistoric ritualistic cult worship.
Mugabe is but one of the nationalists who spent time in prison for political
activities and is in no way the “father of Zimbabwean nationalism”. This
blatant distortion of history is located in ZANU (PF)’s incessant spin,
which waxes the image of their demigod, Mugabe, as an upright revolutionary
untainted by sleaze and possessing no bone of corruption in his body. The
present day ZANU (PF) is a far cry from the original revolutionary party of
the 60’s, which was one of the custodians of our liberation.
Since independence in 1980, Mugabe and ZANU (PF) have arrested, detained
without trial, tortured, raped, murdered and killed more innocent civilians
than those killed during one hundred years of colonial rule. Furthermore,
they have stolen from national coffers funds earmarked for the poor and for
The original ZANU led by Ndabaningi Sithole—and not Mugabe—was ideologically
different to the den of thieves and congregation of looting barons known as
ZANU (PF) today.
The Chidyausiku Commission of Inquiry was set up by President Mugabe to
investigate massive fraud connected with the War Victims Compensation Fund.
Where is the report? Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku is now a recipient of
multiple prime farms, a thank-you present for enabling tyranny and ignoring
the rule of law, which he took an oath to uphold.
The same clique in ZANU (PF) is getting richer whilst the rest of the
populace and rural folk now face another year of food shortages.
It is an oxymoron to have “integrity” and “fairness” in the same sentence
with Mugabe and ZANU (PF).
Phil Matibe- www.madhingabucketboy.com
145 Robert Mugabe Road, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website: www.chra.co.zw
09 February 2010
The Harare City Council has lost a lot of revenue due to fraudulent issuing of vehicle licenses by some District Offices around the city. The issue only came to light recently after the City Authority realized that the expected revenue from vehicle licenses was dwindling as the money collected from the fake licenses did not reach the city coffers. Council has centralized its vehicle licensing to Rowan Martin Building in a bid to curb this problem.
One of the Councillors who declined to be named told the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) that the City has lost over a million dollars due to fraudulent activities by the District Offices. The Local Authority is working closely with ZIMRA so that they can come up with new vehicle license disks with security features. All motorists who have the current disks will have to exchange them for the new ones. Councilor Kapare from Ward 7 explained that the move to centralize vehicle licensing to Rowan Martin is an interim measure and as soon as proper systems are put into place, the Council will revert back to the issuing of license disks at District Offices.
While the move is noble, CHRA has received complaints from many vehicle owners that they are frustrated by the long queues at Rowan Martin. Motorists have also raised concerns over the Council staff that is attending to cases of vehicle licensing saying that the staff is not efficient and they work at a ‘chameleon’s pace’. This situation has jeopardized the collection capacity of the City of Harare as a considerable number of vehicle owners sometimes leave the queues due to the frustration of waiting for hours before they can be served.
CHRA has since made the following recommendations to the Council, which will be discussed in the Finance Committee meeting to be held today (9th February 2010);
CHRA encourages all vehicle owners who suspect that they are in possession of fake licenses to visit Rowan Martin Building for confirmation and advice. The Association remains committed to advocating for good and transparent local Governance as well as lobbying for quality municipal services on a non partisan basis.