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SA bid to shield assets in Zim

News24, South Africa

SA bid to shield assets in Zim

21 August 2006

Cape Town - The South African government is trying to protect its citizens’ rights in the face of Zimbabwean nationalisation moves.

SA Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Monday the government was "continuing to pursue" its efforts to get the outstanding bilateral investment protection agreement (Bippa) signed by Zimbabwe to protect commercial interests of South Africans in that country, .

In reply to Democratic Alliance chief whip Douglas Gibson who asked whether the South African government had noted the Zimbabwe government’s plan to nationalise all mines in that country and what action the South African government intended to take in this regard, the foreign minister said:

"The government has noted the government of Zimbabwe’s intention to acquire 51% interest in mining companies involved in energy minerals, as well as a 51% share in all precious metals and gemstones mines.

"The proposed changes to the Mines and Minerals Act were approved by the cabinet of Zimbabwe.

"But these changes still need to be converted into a bill of parliament before they can be enacted as a full amendment to the Mines and Minerals Act.

"The government is still waiting to see what the outcome of these proposed changes would be."

Asked by Gibson whether the government intended taking action to protect South African commercial interests in Zimbabwe, she said: "The government is continuing to pursue its efforts to get the outstanding Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement to protect the commercial interests of South African nationals in Zimbabwe."