17 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Spread Community Share Trusts Countrywide


The indigenisation and economic empowerment programme is now full throttle what with the signing of the Zimplats indigenisation implementation plan between Government and Impala Platinum Holdings of South Africa last week.

The deal, that paves way for the transfer of a controlling stake to indigenous Zimbabweans, has shares valued at US$971 million.

Implats will sell these shares to Mhondoro-Ngezi, Chegutu and Zvimba Community Share Ownership Trust (10 percent), Employee Share Ownership Trust (10 percent) and 31 percent to the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.

The platinum giant will also facilitate the transaction by providing vendor financing at an interest rate of 10 percent per annum.

This mega-deal is set to transform lives in these communities.

It is important to note that when Government announced the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme through the establishment of Community Share Ownership Scheme/Trusts, some sceptics dismissed it as political grandstanding.

Yet they had the benefit of hindsight as they could have learned from the success of the land reform programme, the forerunner of the current policy.

Success stories abound in areas where community share ownership schemes have been launched which is why there is thus need to ensure they spread to every corner of the country.

Since not all districts are similarly endowed with resources, there maybe need to consider Provincial Share Ownership Schemes.

So far Community Share Ownership Trusts have been launched in Mhondoro/Ngezi, Zvishavane, Shurugwi, Gwanda and Marange.

The Zvishavane Community Share Ownership Trust has so far built two schools, two clinics and sunk boreholes in the area from the US$3 million that has been disbursed so far from the US$10 million that Mimosa Mining Company injected in the Trust.

The Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust has implemented a number of projects that include the construction of a dam, a mortuary, classrooms, teachers' houses and drilled boreholes.

Tenders for the supply of a drilling rig and a motorised grader for road construction have been flighted.

In Gwanda the Community Share Ownership Trust is inviting tenders for completion of construction work at a number of clinics as well as rehabilitation of irrigation schemes.

Many of the projects that the Community Share Ownership Trusts are bankrolling had been on the drawing boards for years but were not being implemented either because central Government or the rural district councils had no money.

Ironically mining companies in these areas were digging and repatriating profits to their foreign bases.

This externalisation of resources is what Government stopped with the Community Share Ownership Trusts.

This is what true empowerment is all about, transforming livelihoods and bringing development to the grassroots.

We urge Government to move with speed to ensure that every Zimbabwean benefits from our God-given resources.

The employee share ownership trusts were a stroke of genius as they allow long-suffering employees to have says in their present and future.

It is providential that the massive investment successive Zanu-PF Governments made in the education sector soon after independence in 1980, which marked the first stages of empowerment, is now coming in handy.

The human resource base in the country is phenomenal.

The education and manpower development programmes were adequate preparation that equipped the populace with the requisite skills to run and the enterprises being transferred into local ownership.

As such we should never shy away from taking over and determining our destiny.

President Mugabe's foresight has put us in good stead to not only own but steer our economy to greater heights.

Through it all let's put people first.

Anyone caught dipping their hand into community share coffers should be punished severely.

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