Mugabe rules out exception for foreign firms

Harare, Dec 9: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Sunday that no sector would be spared from the indigenisation law, quashing media reports that platinum miners could be exempted from the rule if they establish a refinery.

Zimbabwe’s law enacted in 2010 requires foreign businesses operating in the country to cede at least 51 percent of the share-holding to black Zimbabweans. Implementation started first from the mining sector, a pillar to the country’s fragile economy, Xinhua reported.

There will be no exception in the 51/49 indigenisation threshold which seeks to give Zimbabweans greater control in foreign companies operating in the country, said Mugabe, addressing mourners at a senior military offical’s burial.

“I have heard in some quarters that there can be exceptions but I am saying no. We are saying 51/49 percent. It’s very clear, that is our stand,” he said.

Platinum miners could have a lower indigenisation threshold if they build platinum refineries in the country since Zimbabwe currently sends platinum ore to South Africa for processing, Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa was recently quoted as saying in the media.

Platinum miners in Zimbabwe argue that it is not yet viable to establish the refinery as less than 500,000 tonnes is currently produced in the country.