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Zimbabwe to Seize Foreign-Owned Firms Without Compensation - Minister

Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told South Africa's Sunday Times that the value of the 51 percent stake in firms to be taken by the state for indigenous Zimbabweans will reflect the mineral resources

Zimbabwean Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has raised the ante in black empowerment, saying Harare will seize control of foreign-owned mining companies without compensation because all minerals belong to native people.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Johannesburg business meeting, Kasukuwere told the South African Sunday Times that the 51 percent stake in such enterprises to be acquired by the state in the name of indigenous or black Zimbabweans will be determined in an assessment of the net value of mineral resources for each mining operation.

He said in most cases the indigenization process will be carried out the way land reform was, through the expropriation of property in the name of black Zimbabwean.

President Robert Mugabe signaled Friday that there is no going back on indigenization, which has rattled international investors. But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the power-sharing government will not nationalize foreign-owned enterprises.

Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera said the attempt by Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to seize mining firms 31 years after independence is not workable.

"We have a government arm that is trying to disarm foreign companies through dubious means and this is not going well with the other partners," Kuchera said.