Kasukuwere lashes out at Implats head

Zimbabwe’s Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere on Wednesday lashed out at the head of platinum mining giant Impala Platinum (Implats), while at the same time reiterating his threat to take over the group’s mining rights in Zimbabwe.

Saviour Kasukuwere
Saviour Kasukuwere

Kasukuwere is quoted by the Reuters news agency as being “sick and tired” of outgoing Implats CEO David Brown and his alleged “delaying tactics,” regarding the ceding of shares under Zimbabwe’s controversial indigenisation legislation.

Kasukuwere last week gave Implats two weeks to surrender 29.5 percent of its Zimplats unit to the state-run empowerment fund and threatened unspecified sanctions if it did not comply. Kasukuwere has also rejected part of Implats’ indigenisation plans for the Mimosa mining group, of which it is a 50% shareholder, giving the company 30 days to comply.

Implats’ Brown has reportedly been seeking talks with Zimbabwean officials to straighten out the mess, after Kasukuwere last Wednesday said he had drafted letters to Implats and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), ordering them both to comply with the indigenisation laws. But the Implats head has been busy in South Africa, where he is dealing with a massive strike at the company's Rustenburg mine that has cost the mining company an estimated R2 billion.

“We can only engage him if he comes here to implement the law,” Kasukuwere told Reauters, after stating that: “The problem with Brown is that he talks too much. We are sick and tired of his delaying tactics.”

Kasukuwere meanwhile is quoted by Associated Press on Wednesday as saying that a proposed visit by Brown would not change the government’s decision. He also said he has no plans to meet Brown.

“I don’t need to meet them over anything. Why are they coming to see me? I’m not a zoo,” Kasukuwere told The AP. “I have nothing to discuss. They must respect the laws of this country.”

Economic Analyst Masimba Kuchera told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that Kasukuwere is effectively “kicking a man while he’s down” by launching an attack on Implats while it is battling with a damaging strike in South Africa.

“At the end of the day, I think there will be some kind of compromise not only for Implats sake but also for the sake of the country,” Kuchera said.

He added: “However I’m not sure if Minister Kasukuwere has the jurisdiction to enforce his pronouncements because he is not the Mines Minister. Whatever happens, it is important for the country for this stand off to end.” SW Radio Africa

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