The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: We'll Reverse Indigenisation - MDC-T

MDC-T will reverse the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive that Government has embarked on if it forms the next Government.

Party secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti made the revelations during a live debate on StarFM radio on Wednesday evening.

"(MDC-T Government) will review the entire Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act so that it is not about percentages," said Minister Biti.

"We will allow a law that ensures that there is genuine empowerment in Zimbabwe, children are going to school, hospitals are coming. It is not about figures.

"It is about ensuring that everyone is participating. The 51/49 percent is a wrong concept. That is why you only find that model here in Zimbabwe. You don't find it in South Africa. The BEE in South Africa is totally different."

He said empowering the people by giving them jobs, education, information and communication technology was key.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Indigenisation who is also the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere who was also on the programme said it was clear the MDC-T wanted to reverse the empowerment of Zimbabweans.

"Zimbabweans must not have any doubt about where the MDC-T stands. The cat is out of the bag. When it comes to the empowerment of our people it is genuine empowerment. For us it is just more than a conviction. It is a faith. We believe in empowerment of our people by giving them the opportunities and the resources to succeed," said Minister Kasukuwere.

He said companies were willing to comply with the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive but were being discouraged by the MDC-T.

"He (Minister Biti) has been blocking banks from empowering the workers. He personally has told Standard Chartered Bank, which came to Zimbabwe willing to comply with the law, and said don't worry we will change this Government.

"This is the type of creature that we are in. It is unfair to the workers. We are saying let's find our own solution," said Minister Kasukuwere.

He also dismissed allegations by Minister Biti that companies that have been donating money for community share ownership schemes were being compelled to do so.

"Companies like Zimplats were the first to give us US$10 million as a donation. There was no coercion. How do you threaten David Brown (Implats chief executive officer)?

"On his own accord he said to me, Minister I know we have not done enough for the community. Here is US$10 million. We have since gone to negotiate with other companies and said this makes sense and we have managed to develop schools."

Minister Kasukuwere said Minister Biti should instead be grateful for the negotiations that the ministry was conducting with companies. He said Mimosa had managed to write off the US$57 million that the central bank owed the company.

Minister Biti said there was no legal basis for community share ownership schemes.

"Community shares don't have legal existence vis-à-vis the Indigenisation Act. On what legal basis are companies made to part with US$10 million or US$50 million? There is nowhere in the Act that compels companies to donate money to community share schemes."

Minister Biti said his party wanted foreign direct investment compared to the indigenisation drive.

Minister Kasukuwere said MDC-T was involved in the crafting of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act but was now trying to distance itself from its implementation.

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