Kasukuwere has little legal and political backing

Kasukuwere has little legal and political backing
Published: 27 February 2012 (1527 Views)
Kasukuwere has little legal and political backing on mining Mimosa indigenisation

Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has little legal backing and political support to force Impala Platinum to give up its entire shareholding in Mimosa, with legal experts and a member of cabinet saying the indigenisation legislation did not give him powers to do so.

Kasukuwere said earlier this week that Implats should divest from Mimosa completely, leaving the allowed 49% for foreign shareholders to current JV partner Aquarius Platinum.

"Impala must be out of Mimosa. We are much happier negotiating with one partner," said Kasukuwere.

Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu – who last year refused to endorse the cancellation of Zimplats's licence by Kasukuwere over alleged reluctance to comply with the indigenisation policy – earlier this week referred Miningmx questions over the issue to his deputy, Gift Chimanikire.

On Friday, Chimanikire said it was his ministry's policy to promote mining development in Zimbabwe and not to drive away investors. "We are a mining and mining development ministry," he said without further commenting on Kasukuwere's statements.

Another cabinet minister told Miningmx earlier this week that Kasukuwere had "increasingly become overzealous" in enforcing compliance with the controversial policy.

Legal experts and other sources in Zimbabwe said it will be difficult for Kasukuwere to force Impala to divest from Mimosa.

Zimbabwean economist, John Robertson, said Kasukuwere was not mandated under the indigenisation law to force Impala to surrender its shareholding in Mimosa and allow Aquarius to retain the rest of the foreign equity threshold in the mine.

"I don't believe he has the power to enforce this, the indigenisation policy does not empower him to do this."

He said the country's indigenisation drive was "a political policy", and re-iterated that it was not good for the economy.

"They should go to court and challenge the government," said Robertson.

In separate announcements on Friday, Implats and Aquarius said a part of their indigenisation plan for Mimosa had been rejected by the Zimbabwean government, and that the companies were given a 30-day ultimatum before "enforcement mechanisms" would be activated.


- www.miningmx.com

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