TOURISM and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi says Zimbabwe will not chase away Nigerian and other African businesspeople operating in the country for fear of retaliation.
Aaron Ufumeli,Group Chief Photographer
Speaking on the sidelines of the opening of a new branch in Harare of takeaway chain Chicken Slice yesterday, Mzembi said the country should embrace the spirit of pan-Africanism.
“Going forward, we should embrace the spirit of pan-Africanism and make sure that those African operators like Nigerians who came to our rescue in the years 2007 and 2008 came here, opened shops, filled them and created employment for thousands of our people should not be disturbed in any way. It’s Africa for Africans going forward,’’ Mzembi said.
He, however, said the foreign African businessmen should operate within the context of the law and should not charge exorbitant rents or rates to black Zimbabweans who may express interest in operating in those areas like the Gulf Complex.
“Those kinds of mischief can be dealt with through the law and that they have to respect the law and that can be through the Rent Board and we don’t have to be xenophobic about it,” added Mzembi.
Last month, secretary for Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment George Magosvongwe told Parliament that all foreigners operating in the reserved sectors of retail and wholesale businesses, barbershops among others, had up to January to move out of the sectors.
Under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, a number of sectors, including agriculture, transportation and tobacco grading, have been reserved for locals.
“I confirm that some non-indigenous entities are still operating in the reserved sectors and there is a deadline for January 1 for them to comply with the requirement to relinquish their holdings in those sectors,” he said.
Mzembi commended Chicken Slice founder Tawanda Mutyebere for opening another branch saying it was part of wealth creation and empowerment.