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AAG branch defies directive

THE Bulawayo branch of the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has allegedly defied a directive from its leadership to provide a detailed inventory of foreign-owned companies in the city in preparation for takeover.

This, AAG sources in Bulawayo said, has caused a rift within the empowerment lobby on how the controversial indigenisation policy should be implemented.
However, AAG president Supa Mandiwandzira denied ever issuing such a directive, saying those giving such orders were “misguided elements bent on tarnishing AAG’s image” and were trying to instil fear in the business community of Bulawayo.
He said there was no rift on the implementation of the indigenisation regulations gazetted by government in January.
Bulawayo-based members of the AAG told the businessdigest this week that although they supported the empowerment drive, they have refused to be used.
Affiliate members of the organisation said the directive had a hidden agenda.
AAG former president Matson Hlalo on Tuesday said: “Empowerment is a noble cause which should be supported but we refuse to be used as fronts for people already empowered. Why should people in Harare instruct us to come up with an inventory?”
However, Mandiwanzira denied this saying: “There is absolutely no truth in what you are suggesting. No one at head office has requested any list because no one needs that list. In fact, the AAG is operating full throttle, firing from all cylinders and the unity in the organisation is unquestionable. We are focused and would not waste time fighting each other.”
Hlalo said past indigenisation moves empowered a clique of the powerful elite. He said there was no indication that the pattern would be different this time around.
AAG’s vice-president based in Bulawayo, Sam Ncube, on Wednesday told businessdigest that there is nothing wrong with identifying companies to be  indigenised in the region.
“Personally there is nothing wrong with identifying companies in Bulawayo and the region, but what I can say is that the organisation has not set up a fund to invest in companies in the event of a take over,” said Ncube. “Currently, banks are not giving out substantial loans and where would we get the money to keep the companies operating?”
There was panic within the business community in the city as news spread that the AAG was going to identify companies in preparation for takeover.
Ncube said “misguided elements” purporting to be AAG leaders were spreading alarming information within the business community.
The indigenisation regulations, whose aim government said was to empower the perennially disadvantaged indigenous black population through running a controlling stake in companies, are set to be amended, press reports said this week.
Late last year, the AAG, which has
strong links with Zanu PF, drew sharp
criticism from the German embassy after it threatened to close Bonn-headquartered international courier services firm DHL if it did not appoint a Zimbabwean to head its local operation.


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