South Africa shocked by Zim business laws

There has been widespread reaction in South Africa to reports that white businessmen in Zimbabwe who do not cede control of their companies to black partners, could face jail sentences under a law coming in to effect next month.

An official notice of Tuesday states that the law will be enforced from 1 March, to impose jail sentences of up to five years for violators. It gives companie s worth US$ 500,000 or more, 45 days to submit compliance proposals.

Foreign investors also need to meet an “empowerment quota”.

But the regulations have been summarily dismissed as “null and void” by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

In South Africa, political analysts say the promulgation of the law appears to be a deliberate strategy by Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party to try and shore up its shrinking support among the electorate.

AfriForum’s legal representative, Willie Spies, said in a statement that the new development called for more drastic measures by the South African government to assist its citizens affected by Mugabe’s controversial policies.

He said the well-known South-African farmer and businessman, Crawford von Abo, succeeded last week with a court application to declare the South African government liable for constitutional damages due to its failure to grant diplomatic protection to South African investors in Zimbabwe.

“AfriForum will also approach the High Court later this month to have a ruling by the tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) against Zimbabwe, registered in a South African Court,” Spies said.

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