Zim News Roundup

Mugabe threatens Zuma

President Robert Mugabe made a thinly veiled attack on South African President Jacob Zuma in a radio interview on the eve of his birthday,

He said African leaders of today were worse than cowards, and that Zanu (PF) had indicated to Zuma that the he is replaceable as SADC mediator on Zimbabwe.

“Zuma tinokwanisa kumuramba masikati machena (we can reject Zuma very easily). Takatomuudza izvozvo tikati aiwa (we have since warned himthat) we are not forced to, but we don’t want to do that, tinoda kunzwanana,” he told Radio Zimbabwe.

“Those of our leaders who are supposed to represent the African Union in the security are not only cowards but also sellouts,” said Mugabe in an interview with Spot FM. Zuma is one of the African leaders who voted for the UN to be involved in Libya.

No more FreeTV

Many Zimbabweans are set to lose their access to free-to-air TV channels like SABC 1, 2 and 3 among others, after the High Court in Johannesburg ordered signal carrier Sentech to encrypt its signal in the next three months.

For several years now viewers in Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique and Malawi have used a range of decoders to view television channels beamed from South Africa without paying.

But last year eBotswana, a subsidiary of South Africa’s eTV, took the matter to court demanding that Sentech encrypt its signal to prevent this cross border signal piracy. Sentech was also accused of knowing about the problem and not doing anything about it. Last week the court ruled against Sentech and ordered it to pay the costs of eBotswana’s application.

With the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation virtually nothing more than a campaign platform for Zanu (PF), most viewers choose to watch foreign stations.

Miners are hurting

The Chamber of Mines has urged the government to suspend the new mining license fee structure saying such demands would cripple the overburdened sector.

The chamber told a parliamentary committee that the new fees, coupled with royalty increases of 7.5 percent for gold and 10 percent for platinum announced in the 2012 budget, would seriously hurt miners who have yet to fully recover from a decade-long economic crisis.

“The fee structure is unworkable. The industry is already overburdened by the totality of statutory charges, royalties, levies and commissions,” said vice president, Allan Mashingaidze.

“Some 60 percent of every dollar earned in revenue goes to the government, making Zimbabwe one of the most expensive countries to mine.”

Kariba wall cracks

The dam wall on the Zimbabwean side of Kariba is weak and requires urgent repairs to prevent the wall from collapsing, says Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma.

Mangoma told a parliamentary committee: “I repeat that the wall is weak and requires anchoring.It is being attended to – high on the agenda.”

Kariba is one of the largest dams in the world, standing 128 m tall and 579 m long.

Foreign banks targeted

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere says the indigenisation programme will now target foreign banks – Barclays, Standard Chartered and Stanbic.

He said the banks would soon be compelled to relinquish part of their shareholding to locals in terms of the country’s indigenisation and economic empowerment requirements.

Last month Kasukuwere hinted that if foreign bankdid not agree with the regulations, they were free to leave the country.

He said the fact that his ministry had drawn up statutory instruments for other sectors made it prudent for similar legislation to be effected for the financial sector.

In August Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gonocriticised the planned takeover of foreign banks, saying he would protect them if it was implemented in a chaotic manner.

He described as “irrational exuberance” Kasukuwere’s plan to grab banks and described the move as “economic gunpowder”.

But the minister hit back and said Gono must resign or he “would kick him out.” – Staff Reporters

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