"Chiyangwa will not get stake in ZISCO" – Welshman Ncube

Harare, – Industry and Commerce Minister, Welshman Ncube said Native Investments Group (NIG) led by controversial businessman Philip Chiyangwa did not tender for a stake in Zimbabwe and Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel) and will not be considered despite seeking the intervention of President Robert Mugabe.\r\n

Chiyangwa who is Mugabe’s nephew, wrote to the President this week seeking support to be awarded the tender to his subsidiary company, Zeco Holdings as part of the indigenisation and empowerment drive.

Ncube however said it was unfortunate that some people had decided to politicise the issue of Ziscosteel.

“It is my hope that common sense will prevail. Native Investments did not apply and therefore will not be considered,” said Ncube. “What makes it sad is that we are already in the process of making recommendations to government,”Ncube said.

He said the tender process was open to anybody who was serious but Chiyangwa and his partners had sought to take a different approach.

In the letter, Chiyangwa called upon the 86 year old leader not to entertain any foreign bids as this opened up the country to sabotage.

“The risk therefore is that if a foreign corporation is awarded a controlling stake in Zisco, that corporation will bypass the existing support structure and directly import services, machinery and various inputs from its traditional suppliers and various inputs from its home country,” said Chiyangwa.

The indigenisation and empowerment programme has split the government with Zanu (PF) backing the plan while the two Movement for Democratic Change parties want the scheme stopped to allow for more consultation and drafting of new regulations that would not scare away foreign investors.

Some international investors have already indicated that they will pull out or withdraw their investments if Zimbabwe implements the controversial indigenisation law, which among others requires foreign companies to give up 51 ‘per cent’ shareholding to local business people.

Chiyangwa wants his locally-listed subsidiary company Zeco Holdings accorded an automatic empowerment and Indigenisation status.

The country has received five bids for Ziscosteel including renewed interest from ArcelorMittal South Africa and Jindal Steel and Power of India.

Government plans to dispose up to 60 ‘per cent’ of the ailing state-owned company.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Wellington Chibebe on Wednesday expressed concern over Chiyangwa’s open interest in Ziscosteel and particularly his audacity to write straight to his uncle, President Mugabe ‘asking’ for a controlling stake in the name of indigenisation.

“This is very disturbing and it has put to life ZCTU fears over Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy. Chiyangwa already owns so many businesses and he is stopping at nothing to grab more – is this empowerment of the poor,”Chibebe said.

“The ZCTU has been concerned with the slow pace in the identification of suitable bidders for Ziscosteel thereby jeopardising thousands of jobs. Not only Ziscosteel workers’ livelihood is threatened but the livelihoods of the entire town of Redcliff,”Chibebe said.

Early this year Chiyangwa’s company was awarded the exclusive and lucrative rights to sell Fifa’s World Cup hospitality packages.