Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: Partnerships With South Africa Grow With Inclusive Government

Zim-SA partnerships the answer

THE arrival of the high-powered team of business leaders from the Business Union of South Africa is a significant sign of just how much progress, and in what direction, Zimbabwe has made economically since the formation of the inclusive Government.

In many ways Zimbabwe’s economic recovery is being driven automatically by processes that will allow the revived economy to plug into the future Sadc Free Trade Area and common currency union with minimal adjustment.

And the South African business community must have noticed that, considering the volume of goods they are exporting and the ease with which past investors are getting their dividends out of Zimbabwe.

The use of hard currencies means that there are no distortions on trade, no rationing of foreign currency for commercial purposes, and no special favours for business inside or outside Zimbabwe. What we have we can, after paying a percentage in taxes, spend on whatever we like.

Economic growth in the first quarter of this year was good, and far higher we believe than many of the pessimistic forecasts being bandied around. Many factories have reopened and industrial production is rising, albeit from the very low levels it reached as the Zimbabwe dollar died.

South Africa, as Zimbabwe’s biggest neighbour and its most developed neighbour, has been the main foreign beneficiary of the start of Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and, if everyone plays their cards correctly, will be the biggest foreign beneficiary of a full recovery as well as a major engine of that recovery.

Everyone can win and everyone can benefit from a fast growing Zimbabwean economy, with Zimbabweans and South Africans probably being the biggest winners.

Very shortly the two countries will be signing a bilateral investment protection agreement; this is the safeguard that South African investors, not unreasonably, want before they move more decisively into Zimbabwe and being partners rather than just suppliers.

While Zimbabwe is making credible progress with its own resources, it could obviously move far more swiftly forward if there was more capital for investment. South Africa has such capital, and with the decline in demand in that country, many investors will be looking for areas where they can get better returns.

Zimbabwe, with lower labour costs yet an educated workforce, with a very similar legal system, with decent resources, and very shortly with investment guarantees, obviously can make a serious pitch for investment funds.

South Africa will not lose out from such investments. For a start as Zimbabwe’s economy grows so will South Africa’s. South Africa dominates Zimbabwean trade and that is unlikely to change. To put it simply, as Zimbabweans have more money they are likely to spend more in South Africa.

In fact, the detrimental effects of the present world financial crisis on South Africa can probably be significantly eased by growing markets in Zimbabwe, but that growth will be faster if there is more partnership and investment.

But investment requires more than just Government guarantees and an open liberal policy. It also requires the Zimbabwean private sector to think seriously about its future, and its ties to South Africa.

No one is suggesting that South Africa should "take over" the Zimbabwean economy. That would not work, economically or politically.

But what can be done is far greater partnership, far more co-operation and far more studying where various elements on both sides of the river can plug into each other.

In some areas, such as platinum mining, the South African investor will be dominant. In other areas the South African investor will be an important but more junior partner. The crucial question in each case will be to see what the Zimbabwean partners can offer, and what sort of business relationship makes sense.

South African business people are not in Zimbabwe as an act of charity. They are looking for ways to make their businesses grow in an economic recession and see Zimbabwe as an opportunity. With the right business relations with local business people they can realise that opportunity and accelerate Zimbabwe’s economic growth.


President meets Implats boss

Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday met Impala Platinum Limited group chief executive Mr David Brown at Zimbabwe House ahead of the commissioning of the US$340 million expansion programme at Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Pvt) Ltd in Chegutu in August.

Mr Brown’s visit comes in the wake of renewed investor confidence following the formation of the inclusive Government.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu said the new political dispensation had seen an upsurge in inquiries from interested countries.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Mr Brown paid tribute to President Mugabe for the support his company had received from Government during the past eight years they have been operating in Zimbabwe.

"We have had support from Government and we are definitely not planning to wind up business in Zimbabwe," he said.

Mr Brown said although his company had suffered from the economic downturn and a fall in metal prices, there were positive prospects.

"The global economic crisis and a drop in metal prices had an impact on our operations, but we are positive we will see metal prices going up," he said.

Speaking on further investments in the country, Mr Brown said while his company was busy with the first phase of the expansion programme in Chegutu, prospects for further investments were high.

"The first phase is almost complete and it would be officially opened in August and we are hopeful that the President would grace the occasion," Mr Brown said.

The platinum giant has built 1 000 houses for its workers and more are planned.

Zimplats expansion programme has boosted its workforce to 5 000, half of them full-time employees.

Zimplats chief executive Mr Alex Mhembere expressed confidence in the company’s future.

"We had serious problems in the past years but we managed to raise salaries for our workers and our future is as bright as the metal prices," he said.

Minister Mpofu said Government was encouraged by the responses it received from potential investors in the mining industry.

"We have had serious inquiries especially from the investor world including Europe, especially Britain.

"We have also received serious propositions for all types of minerals such as platinum, diamonds, gold and the new minerals like tantalite among others," he said.


Oxfam pledges to help Zimbabwe

Herald Reporter

OXFAM Great Britain has pledged to help Zimbabwe with farming inputs, reviving the economy and drilling boreholes in Harare.

Oxfam GB’s chief executive Ms Barbara Stocking — who is visiting the country to assess the humanitarian situation and the organisation’s programmes — said the assistance would be provided over three years.

"As Oxfam, we are looking at other areas but we still have a lot to do in the humanitarian areas especially in water and sanitation,’’ she said, adding they had no intention of leaving Zimbabwe and would engage other donors to channel funds towards economic recovery.

Ms Stocking on Monday visited Budiriro and Glen View where the organisation is assisting in the fight against cholera.

She officially launched the borehole-drilling project at Budiriro Primary School. Oxfam is planning to drill 20 boreholes in the capital.

Budiriro Poly Clinic sister-in-charge Ms Grace Murenje told Ms Stocking that cholera cases were on the decline.

She said since October last year, the clinic had attended to 17 187 cases of diarrhoea and 8 942 cases of cholera.

Ninety-three deaths were recorded from the cholera cases.

Yesterday, Ms Stocking visited Chirumanzu where she met people benefiting from her organisation’s food distribution programme as well as those involved in agricultural projects supported by the charity.

Ms Stocking is expected to meet Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Government officials, NGOs, donors and UN agencies.


Sanctions hurting ordinary people, says Mutambara

Herald Reporter

THE sanctions imposed by Germany and other European Union countries are not affecting only Zanu-PF ministers but the entire inclusive Government and ordinary people, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said yesterday.

DPM Mutambara said the sanctions were affecting the work of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as some of those affected are Cabinet ministers in the inclusive Government.

The three principals of the political parties — which are signatories to the power-sharing agreement — were agreed on the need for the removal of sanctions and that no Western country should insist on maintaining them.

DPM Mutambara said this at a meeting with German Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Albrecht Conze, who had paid him a courtesy call at his Munhumutapa offices.

He told the German ambassador it was misplaced to argue the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were targeted when they affect ordinary people.

Mr Conze said his country was still observing political developments in the country and would consider lifting what he regarded as "personal measures" slapped on some individuals in reference to sanctions imposed by his country.

But DPM Mutambara told him: "It’s a misnomer to say they are personal measures because they are impacting on ordinary persons. They (the sanctions) are so meaningless because people targeted are team members of Prime Minister Tsvangirai. If Zimbabweans say we no longer want these sanctions, who is Germany or any Western country or European Union to judge and impose them?"

DPM Mutambara said it was important that Zimbabweans determine their destiny without external interference.

"We want to work with Europe. We should determine the rules of this game, respect us, don’t patronise us. We Zimbabweans have decided on a journey; it’s not for anyone to judge it," he said.

"Germany is observing with strict interest and increased sympathy. We want to see tangible progress in areas like full restoration of the rule of law, respect of BIPAs (Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements.)"

Earlier, DPM Mutambara met Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Yuan Nansheng and discussed how the two countries could increase co-operation.

Mr Yuan said China was delighted by the new political dispensation in the country.

He said China would increase humanitarian assistance and identify more areas of co-operation with Zimbabwe.

DPM Mutambara said the discussion with the Chinese ambassador centred on areas where the two countries could hold joint ventures.

"We need China in many areas like value addition, infrastructural development like build, operate and transfer arrangements where China, for example, can construct a toll gate, operate it for, say, 30 years before transferring it to the Government."


Six farmers arrested

Herald Reporters

TWO white former commercial farmers appeared in separate courts in Chegutu and Chiredzi over land-related issues while six others and their managers in the southeastern Lowveld were arrested for allegedly refusing to vacate State acquired land.

In Chegutu, Martin Joubert was charged with taking hostage eight youths living on a farm allocated to veteran politician and Zanu-PF information and publicity secretary Cde Nathan Shamuyarira.

On the other hand, Digby Sean Nesbitt appeared in a Chiredzi court for refusing to vacate a farm allocated to the Officer Commanding Matabeleland North Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai.

Still in Chiredzi, former farmers Michael Fay-Dherbe of Farm 33 Hippo Valley Settlement, Benoit Lagesse of Farm 1 Hippo Valley, Cecil Jean Derobellad, Tony Renato Sarto of Lot 1 Ranch North, Jeffrey Soma of Lot 2 Fair Ranch and Mariah Theressa Warth of Wasara Ranch were arrested for refusing to vacate acquired farms.

Also arrested were farm managers Jaison Mahomu (Lagesse), Albert Chisango (Derobellad) and Chenzira Wilson Gondo (Soma).

The arrests, carried out between March 22 and yesterday, come hard on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling that farmers who refused to vacate acquired farms could be prosecuted.

Warth is expected to appear in court today, while the other five are due to stand in the dock on April 16.

Investigations are still in progress.

Prominent Chiredzi businessman and former farmer Nesbitt, who is refusing to vacate State acquired land, yesterday told Chiredzi magistrate Mr Enias Magate that he was prepared to leave his farm but only after Government had paid him compensation of US$2,1 million.

In his defence, Nesbitt said he would remain on the remainder of Farm 30 at Hippo Valley Estates since he was given specific instructions by the then Minister of National Security, Lands, Land Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa, to stay on the farm.

He told the magistrate that he had been given a
provisional court order in Masvingo to remain on the farm.

Although Nesbitt said he had never met Cde Mutasa, he said the instructions came from some officials from the minister’s office.

He stated that senior Politiburo members —former Masvingo governor Willard Chiwewe, Minister Stan Mudenge, former Senator Dzikamai Mavhaire and former legislator Celina Pote had also made efforts to have him reinstated on the farm.

The farm was allocated to four beneficiaries including Snr Asst Comm Veterai.

Nesbitt said former governor Chiwewe became furious when he told him that Snr Asst Comm Veterai had an offer letter for 70 hectares.

The court heard that Nesbitt had gone through the courts in a bid to evict all the four beneficiaries from the farm.

Nesbitt said he applied for land on February 10, 2006, but never got a response.

"As long as the ministry does not respond to my application for land especially on Farm 30, I will remain there," he said.

He added that the developments he had made on the farm had cost US$2,1 million. These included 8 000 crocodiles, which he valued at US$700 000 and farm equipment worth US$300 000.

Chief law officer Mr Tawanda Zvekare appeared for the State while Harare lawyers Ms Nyaradzo Maphosa and Rodney Makausi defended Nesbitt.

In Chegutu, Joubert of Mt Camel Farm, who is allegedly managing the farm, which formerly belonged to Mike Campbell and seven other men alleged to be working for Campbell, were arraigned before the magistrates’ court yesterday for alleged kidnapping.

The other seven men are Enock Freedwell (48), Innocent Takawira (33), Alex Chemai (45), Umali Makanje (35), Daiton Dzimbiri (45), Davis Chikaunda (35) and Dhadhe Antonia (42).

They were not asked to plead when they appeared before magistrate Mr Tinashe Ndereka.

Mr Ndereka remanded all the eight in custody to today when he will rule on the defence application challenging the decision by the State to have them placed on remand.

The State, led by Mr Allan Chifokoyo, alleges that on April 4 the men went to Mt Camel Farm and forced the complainants into two Landcruiser vehicles before assaulting them with bicycle chains.

It is alleged that the Joubert and his team then drove their victims to Balclutha Farm where they ordered the complainants out of the vehicles and forced them to roll in a pond alongside the road.

The complainants, it is alleged, were again forced to get into the trucks and driven to Msengezi area and beaten along the way.

It is further alleged that Joubert and his team then dumped the eight youths at a bush village 3 in Msengezi after assaulting them.

The youths then ran for their lives and disappeared and when they regrouped after some time one of them, Mike Tangwena, was missing.

His whereabouts are still unknown and police are making efforts to find him.

Earlier on, Mr David Drury of Gollop and Blank, who is representing all the eight suspects, complained over the unlawful detention of his clients, which he said exceeded the stipulated 48 hours.

He also complained that his clients were severely assaulted by the police.

In his brief ruling, Mr Ndereka said the claims over detention were unfounded as the 48-hour period spilled into yesterday in terms of the law.

The magistrate, however, ordered full investigations into the allegations of torture of the suspects while in police detention.

"If the investigations show that they were ill-treated we will demonstrate that no one is above the law," said Mr Ndereka.

The magistrate is also today expected to make an order allowing the suspects to go for medical examination and treatment.

After the court ruling, Mr Drury made an application seeking to block the State from placing his clients on remand.

He argued that before the suspects were placed on remand the court should be satisfied with the basic matrix of the facts, which are not concocted to place his clients on remand.

Mr Drury said the statements by the State witnesses and the facts on the State outline were contradictory, putting the credibility of the State case at stake.

But in his counter-argument, Mr Chifokoyo said the placing of the suspects on remand did not require resolution of conflict of evidence.

"The constitutional requirement relates to suspicion that is reasonable," said Mr Chifokoyo.

After hearing the submissions from both the defence and State counsel Mr Ndereka reserved judgment to today.


Organ on National Healing gets down to work

Herald Reporters

THE Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation yesterday started work by meeting various stakeholders and urged Zimbabweans to desist from acts of violence.

Organ chairperson Minister John Nkomo said Zimbabweans should contribute to the national healing and reconciliation process.

The Organ — comprising Ministers of State Nkomo, Sekai Holland and Gibson Sibanda — is meeting stakeholders ahead of a conference expected to draw 4 000 delegates.

Yesterday’s meeting was attended by representatives from Moral Re-armament Zimbabwe, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Zimbabwe Harvest Global Network and the business community.

"We are happy that there are people who are thinking seriously about this process and we hope that we will continue to receive more input from all stakeholders," said Minister Nkomo.

He said the Organ’s mandate was not only to bring peace to Zimbabwe but guarantee a change in the conduct of Zimbabweans.

"We cannot wish each other away as we are coming from different political fields, but we need to recognise each other and have a totality of input from all Zimbabweans," he said.

The Organ, Minister Nkomo said, would forward people’s suggestions to the leaders of Zanu-PF and the MDC formations—President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara.

It was also important for people to establish a "Zimbabwean project and programme to be run by Zimbabweans".

"We would also like to call upon Zimbabweans to immediately stop violence and create mechanisms that the activities stop for good while creating an environment for Zimbabweans to exchange views from across the political divide," he said.

Minister Sibanda said national healing was crucial to the success of the inclusive Government.

"The Organ is a result of protracted negotiations leading to the Global Political Agreement of September 15, which has it that it would provide mechanisms to advise Government to make Zimbabwe come to terms with the past.

"We need to focus on the future of the country and we started with healing of ministers last week and bond them as they have come from different political parties," he said.

Minister Sibanda said it was critical to build teamwork among Zimbabweans adding that the same spirit from the Organ would bring all to focus for the development of the country.

Moral Re-armament Zimbabwe co-ordinator Mr Steven Sibale said the organisations were responding to the need for healing the nation.

"We are grateful that Government has decided to work with us and the ultimate goal is to make sure that there is no violence in Zimbabwe," he said.

Mr Sibale said there was, however, need for individuals to begin by healing themselves.

"There is need for change at the individual level and people should begin to heal themselves, fight against the spirit of retribution," he said.

Mr Sibale said the unity demonstrated by ministers in the inclusive Government should also inspire the nation.

1 comment:

suppliers africa said...

I am happy that there are people who are thinking seriously about this taking it to a level and I hope that it will continue to receive more input from all ventures. This another way of suppliers Africa reaching the height of the recession.