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Zimbabwe Black Empowerment Group Pressures White Businesses for Stakes

  • Gibbs Dube

The Ministry of Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment has set up committees to determine the stakeholdings to be acquired by indigenous investors in various sectors

Business sources in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, said Monday that members of the Affirmative Action Group, a leading black empowerment organization, have been visiting white-owned firms in the city demanding the owners cede at least 10 percent of equity to their workers.

But an Affirmative Action spokesman denied the group was involved in the reported visits.

Business owners told VOA that members of the black empowerment group, led by a man identified as Roy Sibanda, said the visits to companies were being carried out and the demands for a 10 percent equity stake for workers, were being made under the national indigenization program.

Reports said the group was targeting companies that have not yet submitted indigenization plans to the Ministry of Indigenization as required under regulations promulgated earlier this year.

The Ministry of Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment has set up committees to determine the stakeholdings to be acquired by indigenous investors in various sectors.

Affirmative Action Group President Supa Mandiwanzira told reporter Gibbs Dube that the police should arrest anyone who presents demands to firms claiming to represent his organization.

“Our members have not yet invaded any companies and anyone masquerading as an AAG member should be reported to the police,” said Mandiwanzira.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association spokesman Roderick Fayayo said the actions attributed to the Mandiwanzira's group will only drive away potential foreign investors.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Vice President John Nkomo last week declared that Zimbabwe is a safe destination for foreign direct investment.

Tsvangirai said the indigenization law will be implemented without forced company takeovers and that shares would change hands on a willing seller, willing buyer basis.

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