SA battles to protect investment in Zim


BY TRUST MATSILELE
JOHANNESBURG
South African president, Thabo Mbeki, is believed to be planning to meet president Robert Mugabe on the fringes of the forthcoming SADC heads of states summit in Zambia to persuade him give back some farms he seized from white commercial South Africans in 20

00.
The South Africa’s business and investment coalition wants the South Africa government to sign a protection agreement with its counterparts in Zimbabwe to pave the way for some of the evicted white commercial farmers with South African citizenship to get their farms back.
South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister, Mandisi Mphahlwa, confirmed the worries of business people in the country and said he was under pressure from them to make sure that protection rights between the two countries were signed soon.
The recent pressure follows President Mugabe’s threats to nationalise all foreign owned companies, which will see billions of rands invested in Zimbabwe falling into the hands of the Zanu (PF) regime.
The minister attributed his government’s failure to sign the protection agreements with Zimbabwe to Mugabe’s ouster earlier this year of Finance minister Herbert Murerwa.
“The replacement of finance minister Murerwa by Samuel Mumbengegwi in February did cost us a momentum,” he said.
The original draft agreement dealt with promotion and protection of investment between the two countries. This included the protection of land rights of South African farmers who own land in Zimbabwe.
South Africa’s Implats one of the leading investors in Zimbabwe has also expressed concern about the government’s failure to sign protection deal in time as it considered expanding,
“Eighteen months ago the company was waiting anxiously for the agreement to be finalised as it considered expansion in Zimbabwean context of runaway inflation and a capricious government,” said Bob Gilmour, Implats’s spokesperson.

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