Media reports at the weekend said President Robert Mugabe had assented to a
controversial Bill that would grant indigenous Zimbabweans the right to
seize controlling stake in all foreign-owned companies.
Analysts say the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill could frighten
away foreign investors and deliver a sucker punch to Zimbabwe’s struggling
Speaking to the media yesterday, Leon said foreign affairs minister
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma should be summoned to parliament to explain what the
government was doing to protect South African businesses in Zimbabwe.
He said Dlamini-Zuma should also explain why President Thabo Mbeki’s
government had failed to conclude the Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection (BIPA) agreement with Zimbabwe.
“The nationalisation of foreign-owned businesses in Zimbabwe will not only
have a negative impact on investment in the ailing Zimbabwean economy, it
will also have especially negative consequences for South African companies
with substantial mining interests in Zimbabwe, such as Impala Platinum
Holdings and Anglo American,” Leon said.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that has manifested
itself in the world’s highest inflation rate of over 100 000 percent,
massive unemployment and poverty, reports ZimOnline.
Mugabe, who is seeking a new five-year term in elections at the end of the
month that could take his rule to 33 years, denies responsibility for the
country’s economic collapse.
Meanwhile, Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) chief executive has described
Mugabe’s government as “moronic” and said the South African bourse would not
seek closer ties with its Zimbabwean counterpart for as long as the veteran
leader was in charge.
JSE boss Russell Loubser said the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange had pursued closer
ties with its South African counterpart but said this could not be possible
unless Mugabe’s 28-year rule is ended at elections this month.
“The Zimbabwe stock exchange would like to work much closer with us,”
Loubser said at a press conference for the announcement of the JSE’s annual
“We are just extremely apprehensive while you’ve got that type of government
in power because anything is possible . . . We are very careful about doing
something there while that type of moronic government is in place,” he