13 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Zim Indigenisation Laws Scuttle Mall Construction

Photo: IRIN
A fresh produce market in Mbare, Harare.

Harare — ZIMBABWE'S indigenisation policies has left the construction of a multimillion dollar mall in Bulawayo in the balance with reports a South African-based company that won the tender to build the facility was rethinking its decision.

Tearracota Pvt won a tender to construct a $60 million state-of-the-art multi-purpose complex at Egodini in the country's second biggest city.

Tearracota company representatives were supposed to meet Bulawayo City Council fathers last week to sign the deal to pave way for construction but return to South Africa without signing.

They could not sign despite meeting officials from the Ministry of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Development.

Bulawayo Mayor, Martin Moyo, said the company officials went back without finalising the deal to "digest" indigenisation proposals that the Government presented them. E was nonetheless unaware of further details of the meeting.

"I understand they went back after discussing the issue of indigenisation.

They have gone back to discuss the 49:51 percent ownership ratio before they come to sign," Moyo added.

Although Government has indicated that it would come up with a sector-by sector approach to the indigenisation policy, the standing law at the moment requires companies to ensure that they meet the 51:49 percent shareholding threshold.

Indigenisation Minister Francis Nhema was not available to give details, but it is understood that pressure from local companies had resulted in lobbies to bar the South African company from undertaking the project unless it incorporated some local partners.

Tearracota beat about 15 other companies for the tender to re-develop the Egodini bus terminus into a state-of- the art complex.

The complex would include a shopping mall, a transport hub, a loading and off-loading bay and traders' stalls.

Construction was supposed to take between 18 to 24 months.

Tearracota has been involved in various construction projects in South Africa including the Tsakane Mall Taxi rank in Gauteng.

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