Harare - Zimbabwe has directed banks not to provide services
to a local unit of South African owned platinum company, Zimplats, after it
continued to put money in offshore accounts, state media reported Friday.
"Due to the failure by Zimplats (Zimbabwe Platinum) to
adhere to provisions of this directive, to close their offshore accounts and
transfer their funds to bank onshore as directed, exchange control has taken
corrective administrative measures to enforce compliance," Gideon Gono,
the Reserve Bank governor of Zimbabwe, was quoted as saying by The Herald
"In this regard, authorised dealers are hereby advised
to stop processing and facilitating international or any cross-border payments
on behalf of Zimplats ... and to stop processing and facilitating any exports."
Zimbabwe announced in March that foreign banks and mining
companies should bank their proceeds locally instead of offshore.
Zimplats, the local unit of the world's second-largest
platinum producer Impala Platinum Holdings [JSE:IMP], said it was "surprised"
by the directive.
"Zimplats is urgently liaising with the monetary
authorities to resolve this matter amicably," Busi Chindove for Zimplats
told The Herald.
The government earlier this year threatened to take Zimplats
over after it failed to submit a plan to distribute 51% of its shares to locals
to comply with the country's indigenisation laws.
The company later submitted a plan to the government for
Under its terms, the company said it would give 10%
ownership to its workers, another 10% to a community trust near its mine, and
31% to the government's Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.
Under the controversial local ownership law championed by
President Robert Mugabe, the government must pay for the shares it receives -
something the cash-strapped Treasury has not budgeted for this year.