Parly to probe Shabanie Mine over ownership

HARARE - The parliamentary committee on Energy and Mines will soon summon shareholders of Shabanie Mine to explain the company’s ownership after failing to get convincing answers from the company’s management during a tour of the mine.

Shabanie management, led by managing director Steven Nyagura, could not name the other beneficial shareholders in the business during a tour by members of the portfolio committee this week, except to say that outside the controlling shareholder (government), the asbestos miner was also owned through SMM United Kingdom.

Pressed to state who was behind SMM UK, management came unstuck, forcing committee chairperson Temba Mliswa to adjourn the tour, saying he will summon the shareholders of the company.

“We understood what you said that you cannot divulge much on shareholders. We are going to invite the relevant people including you (management) to come to Parliament to appear before the portfolio committee and we are going to use the legal framework which allows us to summon anyone to Parliament,” he said.

SMM, which owns Shabanie Mine in Zvishavane and Gaths Mine in Mashava, was shut down in 2004 following a dispute between government and businessman Mutumwa Mawere, who ran the company at that time.

Some 3 000 workers in Zvishavane and about 1 500 in Mashava lost their jobs when the company eventually closed.

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, UK, Angola, Nigeria and China, among other countries.

 

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