Zimbabwe to enforce equity deadline on foreign firms

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, looks on after delivering an address to the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters on September 22.

Story highlights

  • Monday was when foreign-owned firms had to submit plan to government
  • 51% equity must be given to black Zimbabweans
  • Companies that missed deadline will be penalized, official says
Zimbabwe will decide Tuesday what action to take against foreign-owned companies that have missed a deadline to tell the government how they will transfer their majority equity to indigenous Zimbabweans, a senior government official has said.
In an interview with CNN, Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe indigenisation and empowerment minister, said his office spent all of Monday looking at the proposals.
"Tuesday is when we will announce what would have come out of their proposals and how to deal with problematic areas. But there is no going back on this. We want Zimbabweans to benefit from their wealth," Kasukuwere said.
The deadline fell on Sunday but was moved to the following working day.
Under the controversial economic empowerment law that came into force last year, foreign-owned firms must give at least 51% equity to black Zimbabweans. Those that fail to comply face legal action, which can be withdrawal of their operating licenses.
The law was passed in 2007, before President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party lost its majority in parliament the following year.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said the law scares away investors, while Mugabe maintains the law is meant to correct colonial imbalances.