Youths threaten to invade mines

Zanu (PF) youths in Masvingo have threatened to invade Bikita Minerals and Renco Mines for “failing to honour the country's indigenisation laws”.

Pupurai Togarepi

Pupurai Togarepi

The Zanu (PF) secretary for youths in the politburo, Pupurai Togarepi, said the youths had run out of patience over the government’s snail-pace in making sure that the two mining companies comply with the legislation. He threatened to invade the mines if the government continued to delay forcing them to comply.

“We are saying government should move with speed in making sure that the two mines comply with the law,” said Togarepi. “Youths should also benefit from the shares that the companies should cede to locals.  We are going to take it upon ourselves and if it means invading them we  have the capacity to do so,” he added.

According to the current indigenisation legislation, all foreign companies should cede 51 percent of their shares to locals. In addition, mining companies have been ordered to contribute money towards the establishment of community share ownership schemes as way of ploughing back their profits to local communities.

Renco Mine is Masvingo’s largest gold producer while Bikita Minerals produces lithium. Togarepi also took a swipe at Zanu (PF) bigwigs who he said were protecting the mining companies from complying with the law.

“We have heard that there are some bigwigs in the party who are blocking mining companies from contributing money towards the community share ownership scheme and we are soon going to shame them,” said Togarepi.

Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws have been criticised by investors, who argue that they are not business-friendly.  Investors have asked Harare to relax its indigenisation and investment laws in order to promote much-needed investment and job creation as the economy teeters on the brink of disaster.

The former Minister of Energy, Dzikamai Mavhaire, who was recently kicked out of the ruling party for allegedly supporting ousted vice president Joice Mujuru, has said he is a major shareholder in Bikita Minerals. So observers see this latest move as part of the internecine warfare in Zanu (PF) as the different factions jostle for pole position in the on-going battle for power and wealth.
Fodder with which to fuel the gravy train is diminishing rapidly. The lucrative sugar cane estates and wildlife conservancies have been dished out to the political and military elite.

The parastatals have been thoroughly plundered and run into the ground. Agriculture and the manufacturing sector that was largely dependent upon it have been destroyed by the chaotic and corrupt land “reform” programme.  Only the mining sector remains relatively buoyant – hence the acquisitive attention now being paid to it.

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