By Chipo Musoko, HARARE, July 17 (The Source) – Resource group Mwana Africa on Friday said it has engaged the government of Zimbabwe over its recent executive changes and is ready to discuss with it the company’s plans.
This comes after indigenisation minister, Christopher Mushohwe on Thursday told a press conference that government had noted with “serious concern” the changes in the management of Mwana Africa and its implications on the country’s indigenisation law.
The law, enacted in 2008 requires foreign owned companies valued at over $500,000 to cede 51 percent to black locals and has been cited as a major impediment to foreign investment in an economy battling to recover from a decade-long recession.
Mwana, which has two subsidiaries in Zimbabwe – Freda Rebecca Gold Mine and Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) – last Friday fired several staff, including consultants with more to come up in a shake-up that also claimed its founding chief executive, Kalaa Mpinga last month.
It said the dismissals were designed to lower overhead costs and change its working culture.
Mpinga left the company he founded on June 10, a day after a crunch extraordinary general meeting (EGM) which ousted his allies on the board, South Africans Stuart Morris and Johan Botha and Zimbabweans Ngoni Kudenga and Herbert Mashanyare.
They were replaced by Scott Morrison, Mark Wellesley-Wood, Oliver Barbeau and Anne-Marie Chidzero while majority shareholder, China International Mining Group Corporation (CIMGC)’s chairman Yat Hoi Ning took over as executive chairman.
However, this did not go well with the government which criticized “the manner in which the composition of the board and management of Freda Rebecca Gold Mine, the largest single gold producer in the country has been changed.”
Mushohwe also said the shareholding agreements between the government and the owners of BNC may not have been observed while Freda Rebecca Gold Mine had not complied with the law.
Mwana Africa said in a statement that it had taken note of the announcement but maintained that following its EGM of 9 June, the Mwana executive team had “pro-actively engaged with the government of Zimbabwe on these issues.”
“Mwana nevertheless welcomes any invitation to discuss the company’s plans with the relevant authorities at the earliest opportunity,” said Mwana.
“Mwana has, at all times complied with all legal requirements in the countries in which it operates and will continue to do so. We firmly believe that co-operation between the authorities and the company provides the best way forward and remain committed to just such a mutually beneficial relationship.”
Apart from Zimbabwe, the group also has interests in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Botswana.