Mujuru slams SMM expropriation

HARARE - Zimbabwe People First leader (ZPF) Joice Mujuru has slammed the extrajudicial expropriation of self-exiled tycoon Mutumwa Mawere’s Shabanie-Mashava Mine (SMM), which left thousands of Zimbabweans unemployed.

Addressing scores of her supporters at her third rally in Masvingo over the weekend, Mujuru queried the government’s decision to shut down SMM, an asbestos mining entity that stopped operating in 2004 after the government seized and vandalised the firm.

Government used the controversial Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act to seize the firm which was indebted to State-owned companies.

“Nekuti hamunzwanane naMutumwa Mawere, iwewe naMutumwa, ko kana vari vasikana vamakatorerana (All because you do not get along with Mutumwa Mawere and if the issue is about women that you are fighting for) it’s entirely up to you,” Mujuru said in thinly-veiled remarks seen as aimed at Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is accused of fronting the seizure of Mawere’s assets.

“What has that to do with families that work at Gatsi and Mashava? Look at what has happened, you have destroyed the lives of people that work at those mines. Honai zvaitika vana vamakanganisa upenyu hwavo, mafamilies amaparadzira upenyu hwavo nekuti hamudi atenga wacho.

“Ko madii kuti iwewe as an individual entrepreneur mira parutivi asi migodhi iyi ngaimhanye iyi, nekuti tiri kuda kuti vanhu vararame ava, nekuti pane vana vanorarama ava, mafuture vana maiMujuru vemangwana ava, mafuture doctors, madhumeni emangwana asi zvese nekuti mune mazimoyo ehuroyi… (Look at the suffering that you have caused to the children, the families you have destroyed, all because you do not want the owner of the mine. Why can’t you remove the buyer but leave the mines operating, because we want people to live well through those businesses. The children that are supposed to benefit from the mines are the future leaders, but have to suffer because of your cold and evil hearts…),” Mujuru said.

SMM used to produce an estimated 200 000 tonnes of fibre every year and was once one of Africa’s largest asbestos producers, with access to markets in the United States, United Kingdom, Angola, Nigeria and China among other countries.

Mawere lost SMM after the government claimed the company was insolvent, having failed to settle a huge debt to the power utility, Zesa. Mawere was then accused of “externalising profits” and fraud — including the allegation that he had used company profits to finance his acquisition of the mine, rather than dividends.

Mawere denied the charges and successfully blocked an attempt by the State-appointed administrator, AMG Global Nominees Private Limited, to buy shareholding of the UK-registered SMM Holdings Limited.

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