The much-vaunted black economic empowerment crusade is elitist and meant to benefit ruling Zanu PF party cronies, opposition parties have said.
BY Staff reporter
Government recently announced a raft of measures meant to water down the controversial policy in which foreign investors are forced to cede up to 51% shareholding as part of measures to uplift previously marginalised blacks.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in statement this week said Zanu PF “is one of those creatures with a rare gift, the gift of destroying everything that it touches”.
“Whilst it is the duty of every government to ensure that its citizens are empowered, we have always maintained that the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act is not the correct model of doing so. In short, it is a destructive model. It is wrong to expect a company to part with 51% of its shares without equity being paid for.
“It is wrong to construct an indigenisation and empowerment model based on acquisition of already created wealth. A correct empowerment model creates equal opportunities and incentives for the majority in order to create wealth,” PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said in a statement.
He added: “It is wrong to appropriate controlling interest for any shareholder who worked hard to build an asset. It is stupid to expect anyone to transact huge amounts of money when he does not have a controlling share. Furthermore, in a country where 75% of the people are surviving on less than 0,35 cents a day, it is wrong to expect that these people can purchase the shares in private foreign hands.”
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu concurred.
“The indigenisation policy is structurally defective and inherently elitist. When you look carefully at the main thrust of the socalled indigenisation policy ever since the enabling Act of Parliament was promulgated sometime in 2007, you will find out that ordinary people have never benefited from this policy.
“Only a few Zanu PF political sharks and corrupt political gladiators have benefited from this policy. One of these political gladiators is building a $5 million mansion in an upmarket suburb of Harare thanks to the rich pickings that he accumulated from the kickbacks he received from various companies as he vociferously championed the indigenisation mantra in years gone by,” Gutu said, accusing an unnamed former Indigenisation Minister of pillaging.
“The community share ownership trusts are virtually dead and buried. Just go to Zimunya and Marange communal areas today and you will be shocked by the grinding poverty afflicting thousands of villagers who never benefited from the alluvial diamonds that were looted from their ancestral land.”
The MDC led by former Industry minister Welshman Ncube’s spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi echoed the same sentiments.
“These laws are blocking foreign direct investment crippling the remaining few but distressed companies.
“The empowerment levies that have been introduced will push everyone out of work and take unemployment to 100%. The Zanu PF government has failed to empower people or lure serious investors with the capacity to reopen industry for the jobless,” Chihwayi said.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao have clashed over the implementation of the policy leading to watered-down amendments announced last week which will see non-compliant companies being levied.