7 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Trouble Brews for Kasukuwere

THE Zimbabwe Economic Empowerment Council (ZEEC) has criticised the opaque nature of some indigenisation deals reached so far and recommended their urgent reversal to pave way for the broad-based empowerment of locals.

At a Press conference yesterday, ZEEC president Temba Mliswa said they had since written to Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, expressing their concern and were hopeful that he would attend to their grievances.

"We believe that business must be concluded between 8am and 4pm and not between 6pm and 12 midnight. There are transactions being conducted between 6pm and 12 midnight," said Mliswa.

He said although ZEEC was happy that there was compliance with the minimum threshold of 51 percent ownership by locals, the empowerment lobby group needs to know the consortiums holding 10 percent shareholding in named companies.

Being a national programme, he said empowerment should be transparent and broad-based for it to be truly beneficial to locals by including such groups as students, the disabled, women and war veterans.

He recommended that the British American Tobacco (BAT) Zimbabwe deal be reviewed as key stakeholders; most importantly farmers were not consulted.

Recently, BAT Zimbabwe set in motion a process that would see the company falling into the hands of locals within the next four years, 26 percent of which was transferred last month.

"ZEEC proposes that the ministry should consult all stakeholders in the tobacco industry mainly the farmer who is much more important than management as they are the ones who provide raw materials," added Mliswa.

On community share ownership schemes, Mliswa said the 10 percent ceded to communities by mining companies should not be misconstrued as the respective companies' contribution to corporate social responsibility programmes.

In addition to the community share ownership trusts, he added, companies should continue with their corporate social responsibility.

On Zimplats, Mliswa said the US$10 million that the mining company was supposed to have released towards the community share ownership scheme has not been availed.

The ZEEC president defended the issuance of permits to mainly ZANU-PF members and top soldiers at Save Valley Conservancy saying it should stand.

He said the fact that some may have benefitted from the land reform programme was inconsequential since the new owners of the consevancies needed other ventures to enable them to finance their farming activities.

Mliswa said it was ironic that questions were not raised when white tycoons such as Billy Rautenbach seized opportunities that cut across most of the country's economic sectors.

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