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delays signing investor law
Hartley, Business Day (SA)
CAPE TOWN — The
future of South African investment in mining and precious metals
still hangs in the balance as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
has delayed signing laws that will protect the business interests
The issue of the
bilateral investment protection agreement between Pretoria and Harare
hit the headlines about two years ago when South Africans who owned
farms in Zimbabwe lost them in Mugabe’s land reform debacle.
The two governments
under-took to negotiate an investment agreement but yesterday Foreign
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said it was still not in place.
She had said at the time that she was attempting to get such an
agreement signed — having negotiated its details.
In a written response
to a parliamentary question from Democratic Alliance (DA) chief
whip Douglas Gibson, Dlamini- Zuma acknowledged yesterday that government
had taken note of Harare’s stated intention of nationalising mines.
has noted the government of Zimbabwe’s inten-tion to acquire a 51%
interest in mining companies involved in energy minerals, as well
as a 51% share in all precious metals and gemstone mines,"
that while the changes had been approved by the Zimbabwean cabinet,
they had not as yet been formalised or converted into a bill that
would need to be enacted to amend Zimbabwe’s Mines and Minerals
is therefore still waiting to see what the outcome of these proposed
changes will be," Dlamini-Zuma said.
She said that
it was also "continuing to pursue its efforts to get the outstanding
bilateral investment-protection agreement to protect the commercial
interests of South African nationals in Zimbabwe signed".
In response to
Dlamini-Zuma, Gibson said SA clearly enjoyed the Mugabe government
leading it by the nose.
He said there
could be no other explanation "for the extraordinary patience"
Pretoria had shown over the signing of an agreement, which "the
minister told me two years ago was ready for signature".
SA begin to act as other democratic governments do elsewhere and
protect the interests of their investors? German and French investors
can rely on their governments to protect their interests, while
South Africans cannot," Gibson said.
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