In Zimbabwe, the ZANU PF government has moved ahead with its controversial plans to ‘indigenise’ all foreign-owned businesses, with reports that a ‘confusing’ seven-page notification has been circulated to many of the companies that will be affected.
The Zimbabwean government of President Robert Mugabe has sent foreign-owned business in the country a document entitled ‘Notification of Extent of Indigenisation and Indigenisation Implementation Plan’. It is reported to be a photocopy that lists more than 50 categories of businesses that must be owned 51 percent by Zimbabweans.
The list includes most of the informal sector jobs that “everyone has been doing to survive since farms were seized and the economy went into freefall”.
This comes just weeks ahead of the January 1st deadline set by government for all businesses operating in sectors reserved for locals to ‘regularise’ their operations or face arrest.
Those who have read the notification form insist that it only leads to more questions than answers and does not clarify just who qualifies as ‘indigenous’ or what ‘foreign’ really means.
The form defines ‘indigenous’ Zimbabwean as “any person who was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race before the 18th April 1980”, but questions remain as to the status of white Zimbabweans born after 1980 or whether non-blacks with residence permits can be ‘indigenous’.