The MDC-T has criticised the deal signed between Impala Platinum Holdings of South Africa and the government for the transfer of a controlling stake in Zimplats to the state and local community, saying it was designed to fund Zanu PF’s “terror” election campaign.
BY OUR STAFF
Under the empowerment transaction valued at US$971 million, Zimplats would avail a loan to the new shareholders at an annual interest rate of 10%.
But MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora accused Zanu PF of using the deal to try to raise funds for its party activities.
“That is asset-grabbing on the part of Zanu PF. it does not increase national wealth. We must adopt policies that are designed to grow the national cake instead of just sharing what is there,” he said.
“We know that the proceeds [of the transaction] will be abused. All funds must be held by treasury.”
Mwonzora said the housing of the funds under the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund instead of the Ministry of Finance was designed to sponsor Zanu PF’s “terror machine.”
He said that the position of the MDC-T was that there was rather need to create jobs for thousands of school leavers, attract capital and investment into the country, and emphasise on the environment, among other concepts enunciated in the party’s economic Juice policy.
But Zimplats board chairman, Muchadeyi Masunda said the platinum producer was excited about the company’s indigenisation deal.
“From our perspective as a board, this [deal] is a milestone in the history of the extractive industry in the country,” Masunda said yesterday.
“The problem with you journalists is that you think of these things in terms of people suddenly having a lot of money in their hands.
“No, we are not going to give people money; it does not work that way. We have been doing these things anyway, but the only difference is that they are now being formalised.”
He said having the community as a shareholder meant that Zimplats could now account for the money it spends on the development of the community.
“The community will acquire the shareholding over time through dividends,” Masunda said.
“What it means is that they have the potential to earn dividends once they have paid off the money needed to acquire their shares.
“The community does not have the clout to go out there and raise the money, so we will do that since we have the clout.”
Masunda said he hoped the deal inspires more businesses, including those which are not in the extractive industry.
“We cannot be a nation of vendors,” he said.
“We need many Zimplats for the economy to peak and for people to have pride.”
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, reiterated that the indigenisation programme was primarily meant for broad groups of people in the community.
“Our emphasis on broad-based participation has clearly shown that the indigenisation programme in the main does not benefit elite indigenous persons, but broad groups of indigenous people,” said Kasukuwere at the event.
“It is therefore, apparent that the greatest beneficiaries of this programme to date, are not well to do individuals, but the broad masses.”