Youth Development, Empowerment and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere warned Impala Platinum Mines (Implats) to stop meddling in the country’s politics but instead to comply with indigenisation and empowerment regulations.
Kasukuwere was responding to Implats chief executive officer’s David Brown regarding the country’s political uncertainty.
In a statement accompanying Zimplats financial results Brown said: “Zimbabwe’s economic future remains very much linked to a speedy resolution of the political challenges facing the country.
Political uncertainty together with the unresolved indigenisation and economic empowerment policies, have resulted in many potential investors adopting a wait-and-see attitude with regards to investment in the country.”
Implats is the holding company of Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Limited (Zimplats) with an 87% shareholding and is in 50-50 joint venture in Mimosa.
In a Facebook posting on Sunday Kasukuwere described Brown’s statement “as most chilling”.
“Every country has laws and the empowerment law is ours as Zimbabweans and those who want to invest and make reasonable profits are welcome,” said Kasukuwere.
“Is he (Brown) now wanting to become involved in the politics of our country and determine who should run our country? Is he positing a preferred political structure that would capitulate to his quest for profits or he genuinely wants us to find a win-win solution?
Commenting on the $200 million after-tax profit recorded by Zimplats for the year ended June 2011, Kasukuwere said: “So what does this mean? You have made $200 million profit and you call for regime change? He needs to be reminded the empowerment regulations and all the measures being taken have been approved by the government and Cabinet in particular.
“Our resolve to balance our national interest and foreign investors’ expectation will not be abandoned. The people of Zimbabwe are smart enough to know what is good for us and those who positively want to work with us.
“Exploitation and carelessness will not be accepted. Let’s engage and limit the rhetoric which is unhelpful. Zimplats should comply and they will still make profit.”
Zimplats is among companies that were given two-week ultimatum to submit “acceptable” indigenisation plans or risk losing their operating licences.
Other companies given the ultimatum included Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Mimosa, Duration Gold Mine, Blanket Mine and Murowa Diamonds.
British American Tobacco, Nestle Zimbabwe and cotton processor Cargil Zimbabwe were also affected. The platinum producing company has invested $700 million at Zimplats in assets with additional $97 million going to staff employment costs.
Brown said the drive by the government to force foreign miners to cede 51% of their local equity stakes to indigenous investors in the country could not work and was hurting the country.
“We believe that 51% equity just does not work. What they are doing is very bad for the country . . . and has the potential to retard investment,” he said.