Monday, March 24, 2014

(NEWZIMBABE) Indigenisation: Mugabe contradicts minister

Laying a hero to rest ... Brigadier-General Misheck Tanyanyiwa died in China last week
08/12/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter I Agencies

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said Sunday that there will be no exceptions to the indigenisation law, quashing an offer by a Cabinet minister that platinum miners could be exempted from the rule if they establish a refinery.

Enacted in 2010, the indigenisation legislation requires foreign businesses operating in the country to cede at least 51 percent of the shareholding to black Zimbabweans.

Implementation started in the mining sector, a key pillar of the country's fragile economy with leading companies such as the South Africa-based platinum majors Implats and Amplats moving to comply with the programme.

The government is keen to see a platinum refinery established in the country with Mugabe recently threatening to ban exports of the mineral to force the issue.

However,mines minister Walter Chidhakwa was recently quoted as saying the companies could expect indigenisation concessions if they establish a refinery in the country.

"The government is simply saying that the guiding principle is 51/49 percent but if the investment does something to this country that can convince us to graduate or move away from the 51/49 percent, we will do so," Chidhakwa said during a tour of the Zimplats operations late last month.

"And I think that in so far as in establishing a platinum refinery in Zimbabwe is concerned, yes, I think there is that flexibility.”

Not so, said Mugabe Sunday as he addressed mourners during the burial of independence war hero Brigadier-General Misheck Tanyanyiwa at the Heroes Acre in Harare.

"I have heard in some quarters that there can be exceptions but I am saying no. We are saying 51/49 percent. It's very clear, that is our stand," said the veteran Zanu PF leader.

According to industry lobby group, the Chamber of Mines, Zimbabwe produced 350,000 ounces of refined platinum in 2012 - 6 percent of world production.

But platinum miners argue that it is not yet viable to establish the refinery as less than 500,000 tonnes is currently produced in the country.

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