Zambia scoffs at Zimbabwe and South Africa mine nationalization schemes

On Tuesday Zambia’s Finance Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane mocked Zimbabwe and South Africa for planning to forcibly raise government stakes in foreign mines, saying “the Zambian miner in 1970s was a happier miner than a miner during the period of state ownership of the mines.”

Under Zimbabwe’s on-again off-again indigenization policy mining companies were granted until the beginning of June to submit proposals about transferring majority ownership to locals while there are growing calls within the ruling party in South Africa to move ahead with nationalization as called for in the country’s Freedom Charter.

The Post Newspapers Zambia reports:

“Good luck to Zimbabwe; good luck to South Africa, but for us, this is a path we have trodden before in the 1970s when we were being told by Britain that ‘if you take over the mines, then you are going to be rich but the very opposite happened,” Dr Musokotwane said during a BBC-organised debate on Africa’s benefits from mining.

On Sunday MINING.com reported how Anglo-American lobbying had flopped amid growing calls for nationalization of South Africa’s mines:

Sunday Independent newspaper reports attempts by mining giants AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American to sup with the leaders of the ANC Youth League and possibly sway them against nationalization have flopped. Both companies stand to lose substantial chunks of their assets if the league – which often acts as kingmakers in the country’s politics – succeeds in its push for nationalization to become the policy of the ruling party.

The New Zimbabwe online edition quotes Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai speaking over the weekend:

“What we are talking about is broad-based empowerment of our people. The majority of Zimbabweans should be brought into the economy, but of course we need partners to ensure social improvement and upliftment of our people,” he said.

“We do not seek to punish investors by any of our policies. Those sceptical of the indigenisation policy should come and we can always sit and address the challenges. No one really wants to engage in a game of fixing people.”

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