Saturday, May 19, 2012

(HERALD) US$5m share ownership trust for Gwanda

US$5m share ownership trust for Gwanda
Saturday, 19 May 2012 00:00
Bulawayo Bureau

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday laun-ched the fourth Community Share Ownership Scheme Trust in Gwanda as part of the indigenous economic empowerment programme. Thousands of people from Matabeleland South Province turned up to witness the launch where 15 mining companies and a cement manufacturer donated US$5 million to kick-start the Gwanda community development fund.

The companies pledged to give 10 percent of their annual profits for community development and ceded 51 percent of their shareholding to indigenous people.

The scheme is a countrywide Government initiative spearheading development and empowering rural communities by giving them 10 percent stake in all businesses that exploit natural resources in their areas.

So far, three platinum mines — Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki — have launched community share ownership schemes.

President Mugabe described the launch as a fulfilment of the aspirations of liberation war fighters whose passion was to see Zimbabweans politically and economically liberated.

However, he said indigenous empowerment was not enough if no one was prepared to defend it against neo-colonialism.

“We are not only redistributing our country’s wealth and rightfully so, but we seek now to elevate those who were called labourers by the defeated racist system of governance that classified people on the basis of their skin colour.

“We are removing the unfair and indefensible barriers and limitations which inhibited the full and unfettered participation of black Zimbabweans in the mainstream economy.”

President Mugabe said the empowerment drive was also designed to control the selfish exploitation of the country’s natural resources for the benefit of multi-national corporations and other foreign businesses with negligible returns to Zimbabweans.
The President said the motive behind achieving the 51 percent ownership in companies was neither vindictive nor racist.

“The principle of sovereign ownership of the natural resources of our land by the State on behalf of indigenous Zimbabweans is also a means of fighting and eliminating the dependency syndrome, which has haunted most of the developing world.
“It is a policy that enables us to think beyond foreign aid, which often has strings attached to it.”

He said no one was being demeaned by the programme.
“If anything, we are demeaning ourselves because God gave us 100 percent of our natural resources, but here we are saying we are content with 51 percent and others can simply get 49 percent. Colonialism conditioned us to be workers and we always think of looking for jobs, but never of being employers. It is time to be empowered and discard that way of thinking,” he said to applause from the crowd.

President Mugabe warned companies that did not want to take up the generous 51 to 49 percent offer now, saying they would in future go out with nothing.
He said foreigners, especially from Europe, had exploited the country’s natural resources for centuries without developing the country and the time had come for the practice to stop.

President Mugabe said it was incumbent on Zimbabweans to ensure they were not used by the West to reverse the gains of indigenisation.

He donated 250 computers and printers to schools in the province.

The President also launched the US$40 000 Ukondla Fund from which youths in Matabeleland South got money to start income-generating projects.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Governor and Resident Minister of the province Angeline Masuku said foreign companies used Gwanda’s mineral resources to built big cities abroad while the town remained underdeveloped.
She said people from the province were saying those who did not want to comply with indigenisation had their own governments elsewhere and should leave.

Among people who attended the launch were traditional leaders, the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Dr Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Dr Obert Mpofu, Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, the Minister of Indigenisation, Youth Development and Economic Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere, Zanu-PF Matabeleland South chairman Cde Andrew Langa, civil servants and service chiefs.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home