Zimbabwe takes aim at banks

2012-07-03 11:41

Harare - Zimbabwe has given foreign-owned banks one year to hand over 51% stakes to locals, according to a government notice, as President Robert Mugabe ramps up a drive to force all foreign-owned businesses to surrender majority control to blacks.

A government notice released last week said all foreign-owned banks with a minimum net value of $1 had one year to reduce their shareholding to 49%.

The southern African state has already forced mining companies such as Rio Tinto and Impala Platinum Holdings [JSE:IMP], the world’s second-largest platinum miner, to turn over majority stakes in their local units to black Zimbabweans.

Emboldened by his success against miners, Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is now targeting banks.

Kasukuwere, a member of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, has clashed with central bank governor Gideon Gono and Finance Minister Tendai Biti over the banking sector.

Biti, a senior member from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party and Gono, a Mugabe ally, have opposed Kasukuwere, arguing Zimbabwe only has four foreign banks out of 26 financial institutions.

Kasukuwere could not immediately be reached for comment but he has previously vowed to pursue foreign banks, which he accuses of refusing to provide loans to the agriculture industry and small black businesses.

“Foreign banks are safe because they deny you funding... so we have got to transform them,” Kasukuwere was quoted as saying by the private NewsDay last Thursday.

Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank and South Africa’s Standard Bank Group [JSE:SBK] and Nedbank Group [JSE:NED] all have operations in Zimbabwe and would be affected by the latest regulations.

Zanu-PF has been criticised over the past decade for patronage when seizing white-owned farms. Critics say many farms are now in the hands of party loyalists instead of the landless black peasants who were supposed to benefit.

Critics of the takeovers of mines and banks say Zanu-PF is using the policy to try and win votes ahead of elections which will be held in the next 12 months.

The government notice also said private schools, which used to be a preserve for whites but are now largely multi-racial, should in the next year be majority owned by blacks.

The majority of Zimbabweans attend government-run schools, which are only starting to recover after a decade of economic crisis left the schools without books and teachers, who sought employment in neighbouring countries.

The energy, tourism and telecommunications industries also have to comply with the empowerment law in the next year.


  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-07-03 11:58

    Shame. Hahaha!

      walter.o.latham - 2012-07-03 12:04

      No joke, Ben! I would suggest that the likes of Malema and all who preach nationalisation, sit back and watch the Zimbabwe economy slump into an even deeper mire. There are lessons to be learned by many of our politicians who reckon they can more profitably run banks, mines and parastatals.

      christopher.columbus.3950178 - 2012-07-03 12:08

      KAAAAAA BOOO00000OMMM!!!!

      pushka.vladovic - 2012-07-03 12:16

      Now let's watch as the foreign banks roll over, captulate and hand over the shares like the platinum miners did instead of saying "up yours" and pulling out of Zimbabwe. The big companies are like "money whores" and make such super profits that they will just hand over control in order to continue making money. If it was not for these foreign companies propping up Mugabes regime Zimbabwe would have completely collapsed years ago. Just remember that the government will not be running these banks, they will still be run by the previous majority shareholders, but the Government will have the final say on policy so they will not neccesarily just go to rack and ruin. It's a disgrace.

      Bulls - 2012-07-03 12:41

      You go Mugabe, we salute you. If this foreign companies are doing nothing for the locals in terms of developing infrastructure like roads, housing,schools,health, you have no option but to be coercive.GOOD I hope the ANC FOLLOW SUITE.Look at what shell is doing to the NIGERIA.TO HELL WITH THEM IF THEY ARE NOT PREPARED TO SHARE THEY MUST AS WELL GO AND MINE PLATINUM IN EUROPE.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-07-03 13:37

      Hey moron Bulls, it's not up to foreign companies to provide infrastructure... Gees, get off this planet man!

      MagdaKus - 2012-07-03 13:37

      @ Bulls-Balls- one of the few reasons Zim still has any economy is because the Zimbabweans migrate to SA and send money back home. If our economy gets as wrecked as Zim's - where would you like us to go and get the money to shore up our country? Have you actually spoken to any Zimbabweans who do not get their money from the rulling party?

      harald.voney - 2012-07-03 13:58

      Bulls-Balls... you idiot. Go live there then if you love it soo much... This little experiment you love so much has wrecked milions of lives there...

      miguel75 - 2012-07-03 15:06

      Hey Bulls-Balls, so you think that Mugabe is going to take 51% of the banks and give it to all the poor people of Zim like Robyn Hood. No my friend, those shares will land it up in the hands of a previleged few and the rest of Zimbabweans will keep starving. Are the average Zimbabweans benefiting from the take over of the mines? NO!!!

      miguel75 - 2012-07-03 15:16

      oh and by the way Bulls-Balls, private companies pay that thing they call TAXES!!! The government should take those taxes and they should build roads, schools, clinics. Yes private companies should have a social responsibility but it certainly isn't up to them to build roads, clinics, houses. A private company should be making profits,so it can keep employing more people so that they have a better standard of living and they to pay taxes. It's called economics 101. The way a country should work!

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-03 16:27

      at least we gonna have more good educated workers here in sa soon.

      wo0two0t - 2012-07-03 16:52

      Balls since when is it a private company’s responsibility to build roads for the general public? Government should provide that through the Fiscus from taxes instead of lining their own pockets? Please grow a brain fool.

      louis.olivier.988 - 2012-07-03 17:45

      Won't be long and bob and his badits will be back to mud huts.

  • Muffin_man_can - 2012-07-03 12:01

    There goes what is left of Zim's economy..

      winston.mullany - 2012-07-03 14:47

      Zim has an economy?

  • Advocatus.Diabolis - 2012-07-03 12:01

    So how does this work, you go and throw your name in a hat and by the process of randomness, you might find yourself a shareholder in a bank... T.I.A!!!

  • henri.lombard - 2012-07-03 12:02

    101 of how to F**k up your country is to cut off the hands that are still feeding you!!! Watch and learn S.A. watch and learn

      komorison - 2012-07-03 13:19

      Banks don't feed, they take.

  • Ian - 2012-07-03 12:03

    sure go ahead, freaking retarded imbeciles, stuff it up even more, wait is there anything else to stuff up, foreign banks must just pull out, let them starve

  • nicholas.graan - 2012-07-03 12:08

    "Empowerment" drive? more like theft and plunder drive ...

  • provence.poppies - 2012-07-03 12:14

    You senile old fool. There has been no-one in all of history who has destroyed his own people and stolen from them like you. You will surely be remembered as the monster of Africa, you make Idi Amin look like an angel and apartheid look like the glory days for the Africans.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-07-03 12:15

    Land redistribution was only the first call. Then the mines and now the banks - Bob not satisfied with what he has, now they will rape some more. Time for the foreigners to get out and take the cash with them an leave Bob the shell. But on second thoughts is that really Bob - or is Bob actually dead and that's a clone (or impostor)surely with Bob's so called cancer he really should be dead.

      susanna.smit.7 - 2012-07-04 09:40

      My brother bought an expensive jet, I want, I demand, at least ten EXPENSIVE JETS!!! Be on the lookout for a new Nando's ad...

  • moikhethi - 2012-07-03 12:16

    Chesa uncle Bob....

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-07-03 12:19

    OH well, bye bye to what is left of Zimbabwe. Hello more refugees and unemployment to Black South Africans.

  • sizwe.bwana - 2012-07-03 12:44

    Greed, greed, greed, this is how it goes, till its all gone then we start all over again.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-07-03 13:10

      yea & it will take 30 years to recover, I feel sorry for the Zimbabwean people, but they need to stand up for their rights, they seem to just take this nonsense.

  • richard.russmann - 2012-07-03 12:49

    What these "experts" do not understand is that by doing this they are killing the golden goose. A business/ bank that makes rational business decisions makes money, and as a result expands, economy expands. Thus government tax revenues expand. By forcing non profitable loans, or turning profitable farms into fallow empty home plots, this "government" is killing itself and its economy because all that tax revenue is disappearing. It is a race to the bottom, I think Mugabe the 33 year democratically elected leader, is WINNING hands down.

  • Jandl Reevo Reeves - 2012-07-03 12:53

    The banks don't need Zimbabwe's the other way round....they should all pull out totally and start somewhere they actually needed...

  • badballie - 2012-07-03 12:58

    The unfortunate thing is that like the mines, the banks with capitulate and hand over the shares, rather than loose possible income. Personally I would shut shop and move out of the country, but western capitalists have never been known for their b*lls anyway.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-07-03 13:07

    tell them to go to hell & pull out of Zimbobwe, there will be nothing left of the economy in 5 years, another somalia, wait & see & to local supporters, watch & learn.

  • hjohn.marquis - 2012-07-03 13:14

    Let us kid ourselves here. This is about enrichment, not empowerment.

      Mutsvene - 2012-07-03 16:32

      Google and read about he successes of black tobacco farmers without any access to finance.The empowerment is there for you to see.Zimbabwe now has an economy run by blacks and it is thriving

  • jenny.webbe - 2012-07-03 13:39

    balls-bulls - it is not for foreign companies to develop a country's infrastructure! That is for the government of the country which is of course failing completely. As you can see, they are not spending it on the poor or on infrastructure. Why do you expect companies to spend it on social development and infrastructure?Stupid communist notion that companies are there to serve the people - no, they are there to make a profit and they pay taxes (and half their profits too in Zim). They should just pull out of that mess of a country and earn their full profits in some other enterprising country - which rules Africa out sadly.

  • lee.theron.9 - 2012-07-03 13:40

    Is this guy for real????????????????

  • luca.delbianco.3 - 2012-07-03 13:50

    I am actually puzzled by the seemingly midget role of the MDC party in the so called unity gov.Whats the use to be in the gov if all major policies are created and pushed in by Zanupf only?

  • karol.gembicki - 2012-07-03 14:35

    Banks pull out, start now.

  • mlungic - 2012-07-03 14:48

    I dont think its a good move, I dont think Zims will benefit frm this. And I dont see Barclas, STD Chartered, STD

  • wongalethu.sambulela - 2012-07-03 15:27

    i find it more of an agressive strategy by the zimbabwean government, financial sector is hard to control, there are many other international forces in the process i hope this will not lead to a disaster.

  • nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-07-03 17:24

    Everbody must take what investments they can and get out of Zim as fast as they can and let China take over. Boy o boy,only then, will Zim people realise how fair white people is.

  • Tommo - 2012-07-03 23:16

    Toodledoo Zimbabwe....

  • Ryno - 2012-07-04 11:26

    so sad to see a once prosperous nation crumble into oblivion

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