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FULL LETTER: Robert Mugabe’s resignation notice

President Robert Mugabe’s resignation letter was read out by Zimbabwe parliamentary Speaker Jacob Mudenda to lawmakers gathered at a conference centre in Harare to discuss an impeachment motion on Tuesday.

 

State House

Harare

Zimbabwe

21 November 2017

The Honourable Jacob Mudenda

Notice of resignation as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

In terms of the provisions of section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe, amendment number 20, 2013. Following my verbal communication with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda at 13:53 hours, 21st November, 2017 intimating my intention to resign as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.

My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.

Kindly give public notice of my resignation as soon as possible as required by section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Gabriel Mugabe President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Busiest project bidding period ever – ELB

JOHANNESBURG – Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed ELB Group is having its busiest project bidding period ever, and is seeing a strengthening in base metals and great opportunities in gold.

“In the last six months, we’ve experienced our busiest bidding period ever,” ELB Group CE Dr Stephen Meijers told Mining Weekly Online in an interview.

Meijers described the potential volume of infrastructure spend in Africa as massive, on everything from rail to bulk port development, and told of junior mining companies being enabled for quick entry into gold through the availability of mobile modular-type plants.

ELB – which has a tremendous history dating back to the formation of the group in 1919 by Edward L Bateman, who brought the first Allis-Chalmers crushers out to South Africa– continues to represent world-class technologies, know-how and products.

One of the longest surviving engineering companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, ELB last raised capital there when it listed in 1951.

“There are not many engineering companies that have been around since 1919 that are still going strong,” said Meijers, a University of the Witwatersrand graduate with a doctorate in mechanical engineering, specialising in materials handling and who spent time at Harvard University in the US doing management courses.

The group has minimal debt and its business model has always centred on having a very strong balance sheet.  “Keeping sufficient cash on the balance sheet has always been a strong philosophy of the Group and will continue to be going forward,” says Meijers.

“When you go through tough years – and we went through a particularly tough year last year, you need a strong balance sheet, in order to survive,” Meijers says.

Even in the current tight business environment, ELBEngineering Services business unit has an order book that provides it with project work for the next two or so years.

Its turnover of approximately R2.5-billion a year arises out of equal contributions from the Engineering Services business unit and the Equipment business unit.

ELB Engineering Services employs 1 000 to 1 200 people at present and the equipment business has a staff complement of approximately 250.

In minerals and metals, the sub-Saharan Africa-focused group does all projects from small modular gravity separation projects through to large minerals processing projects.

Its current flagship project is the Gamsberg zinc project in the Northern Cape, which is being developed by Vedanta Zinc International’s Black Mountain Mine.

The scope of supply to this engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project involves the provision of everything from the run-of-mine tip through to the stockyard, milling, flotation and final product, as well as providing the water pipeline from the Orange river to the processing plant, plus overhead power supply.

The greenfield Gamsberg project consists of an opencastmine, ore beneficiation plant and associated infrastructure, and is located on one of the world’s largest known zinc deposits, where Vedanta is investing $400-million in developing the first phase of the opencast zinc mine, concentrator plant and associated infrastructure.

The first phase encompasses a four-million-tonne- a-year zinc and lead concentrator.

Another of its exciting projects is the world’s longest single-flight overland conveyor project, for which the front end engineering and design is close to completion. This 27 km overland conveyor project is to be carried out in Ghana for Asanko Gold.

ELB’s longest-standing project that is still ongoing is its contract at Eskom’s Medupi power station in Limpopo.

“It’s been a great project for us. I know there has been certain criticism of Medupi but it’s really an unbelievable project and really one of the world’s greatest infrastructure projects.

“We’ll probably be at Medupi for another 18 months and working for Eskom has been a good experience so far,” Meijers told Mining Weekly Online.

The company is doing the coal distribution right up into the bunkers for the boilers and then collecting the bottom ash and taking it out to the dump.

Also under way are several other projects in South Africa and in Zimbabwe for a cement company, projects for Unilever, which ELB has been serving on an ongoing basis for the last six years, and a number of projects across South Africa for Nestlé.

ELB continues to be active in the manganese, iron-ore and coal sectors.

To date, the company has grown organically; however, it is now considering acquisitive growth as well, in a manner that does not stretch the balance sheet or risk the business.

CORPORATE SOCIAL INVESTMENT

ELB supports the African Academy, which was established in 1994 to address the critical need for well-trained and skilled draughtspersons, and to contribute towards reducing unemployment in South Africa.

The academy, which has been a fantastic success story, produces approximately 230 qualified students in computer aided design a year in different areas and is looking to establishing satellite academies around the country.

ELB also supports St Vincent’s School for the Deaf, where the overwhelming percentage of children are from disadvantaged backgrounds, enabling the children there to be provided with a hot meal every day.

The ELB Trust for black South Africans is also assisting students at various universities. Twelve students are currently registered and, to date, 23 students have been assisted through their studies.

Source : Mining Weekly

Hwange colliery seeks to cut workforce by half

HARARE – Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) plans to reduce its workforce by as much as half and will restart underground operations in the third quarter as the Zimbabwean miner seeks to reduce costs and return to profitability.

HCCL began a voluntary severance program in March and about 200 staff have already taken the option, MD Thomas Makore said in an interview Tuesday. The company, which employs 2 400 people, probably needs to slim down to about 1 200 to 1 400 to produce competitively, he said.

The miner is in talks with potential customers for offtake agreements from underground operations, which are expected to resume by the end of September and will boost production of more valuable coking coal, Makore said. Production from the open-pit operations has rebounded after heavy rains in the first quarter slowed activity, he said.

Output rose to 170 000 metric tons in May from 52 000 t in April and is expected to top 200 000 t this month.

HCCL hasn’t reported an annual profit since 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and said in March it faced significant liquidity problems last year that constrained output, as it struggled to find money for spare parts and other production needs. Creditors last month approved a plan to convert its short-term debts to medium and long-term borrowings.

Zimbabwe’s government owns 43% of the coal miner – 37% directly and 6% through the state-owned pension fund, while 26% is owned by businessman Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, Makore said.

HCCL reported a loss of $89.9-million in the 12 months through December, compared with a $115.1-million loss a year earlier.

Source : Mining Weekly

Zimbabwe approves Australian junior’s lithium project

JOHANNESBURG – Australia-listed Prospect Resources has received approval for its environmental-impact assessment and investment licence for its Arcadia lithium project, in Zimbabwe.

The company described the approval from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) as “a significant milestone”.

Prospect deemed it prudent to separate its gold assets from the lithium assets into two separate subsidiary structures, each with their own ZIA licence, saying on Monday that it would offer greater flexibility as to how the Arcadia lithium project could be financed and how the company financed its gold assets.

Chairperson Hugh Warner said since starting drilling activities in July 2016, Prospect had conducted extensive work focusing on the social and environmental impacts for the development of Arcadia.

“The requisite geohydrological, social and relevant impact assessments completed by our consultants and subsequent approval by the EMA further endorses and moves Arcadia towards production. In addition, the endorsement by the ZIA provides the company with the ability to take advantage of the variety of investment and fiscal incentives offered to investors in Zimbabwe,” he highlighted.

The Arcadia project has a mineral resource of 34.9-million tonnes, at 1.42% lithium oxide.

Source : Mining Weekly

Zimbabwe plans ‘use it or lose it’ mine-permit programme for gold

HARARE – Zimbabwe may confiscate unused mining licenses from companies and liberalize gold trading as ways to boost output.

Large mines are “sitting on lots of unused claims,” the southern African country’s Chamber of Mines said in a document outlining initiatives of the proposed Command Mining program. Revisiting the Gold Trade Act “to allow for the ease of handling and transportation of gold to buying centers” and speeding up mine registration are among other recommendations.

Zimbabwe, whose economy has halved since 2000, is looking for ways to boost output growth to almost 10% next year, mainly through agriculture and manufacturing, and by giving more people access to banking services. The country, which has the world’s biggest platinum reserves after South Africa, is experiencing a liquidity crisis that’s led to limits on daily cash withdrawals and resulted in civil servants being paid late last month.

A $40-million central bank fund will buy machinery for small-scale miners, while banks will be encouraged to accept gold-sale records and geological survey reports as collateral under Command Mining, the document showed.

Gold producers in Zimbabwe include RioZim, Metallon and Caledonia Mining.

Zimbabwe also mines chrome, coal, diamonds and nickel, among other minerals.

Source : Mining Weekly

Standard Bank provides $120m debt package to increase energy supply in Zimbabwe

Standard Bank has finalised a $120-million debt package with Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) for the rehabilitation of existing power infrastructure at the Kariba South hydropower station and the Hwange thermal power station.

The transaction is a continuation of a previous funding arrangement with ZPC, which went towards the 300 MW expansion of the Kariba South hydropower station.

“This funding will assist in improving access to power for Zimbabwe and Namibia and, in the medium to long term, benefits of improved power supply and reliability will also extend to other Southern African Power Pool members,” Standard Bank investment regional head Tandiwe Njobe said in a statement on Tuesday.

She added that the funds would be used to increase capacity and improve the efficiency of the power stations.

“This is a landmark transaction in which we could leverage our sector and technical expertise in both markets, as well as our understanding of the regional power dynamics and local regulatory environments, to deliver value to ZPC and Namibia Power Corporation, (NamPower),” Njobe noted.

The facility is cross border, placing reliance for repayment on a long-term power purchase agreement between ZPC and NamPower.

Source : Engineering News

Zim secures 100 000 tons maize grain from Mexico

Cape Town – Zimbabwe has reportedly secured at least 100 000 tons of maize grain from Mexico to help avert the hunger crisis that has affected more than four million people in the southern African country.

Zimbabwe and a number of other sub-Saharan countries have been hit hard by El-Nino induced drought, forcing the country to import maize from other countries.

Early this year Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was quoted as saying that the government was busy sourcing maize.

Mnangagwa said at the time that Zimbabwe was ready to accept international help to curb food shortages.

A report by New Zimbabwe said that the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) recently managed to negotiate with Mexico on behalf of government in South Africa.

“At the high-level meeting we progressively held with Mexico, we agreed that GMAZ will sign up to 100 000 metric tons of white maize to be supplied by Terra Wealth (Mexican milling company) to supplement our local grain reserves,” GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara was quoted as saying.

Last month the country sourced the same amount of maize from Tanzania, the report said.

Musarara also said that Mexico would be granted some contract farming deals in Zimbabwe.

 

Source – News24

 

Upgrade to Zimbabwe’s highway to SA will cost $2.7bn

ZIMBABWE has agreed to a $2.7bn deal with companies from Austria and China to upgrade the country’s busiest road linking SA with countries to the north.

The deal will be one of the country’s biggest road projects since independence.

The highway is economically significant as it links landlocked Zimbabwe and Zambia to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay.

The contract was agreed with closely held Geiger International of Austria and state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), Transport Minister Joram Gumbo told reporters in the capital, Harare, on Monday.

CHEC, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction, will team up with Geiger to upgrade and add more lanes to the 900km highway from Beitbridge on the border with SA to Chirundu on the Zambian border.

The companies would operate a 20-year concession for the stretch of road from Beitbridge on the southern border to Harare, while the renewal of the northern section to Chirundu would be funded with loans from the private sector, the minister said.

The highway has fallen into a state of disrepair as heavy-duty trucks use it to transport everything from maize to mining and power-plant equipment from SA to other parts of the continent.

CHEC joins several Chinese firms that have been given contracts in Zimbabwe, for projects such as building power stations or revamping water plants, since President Robert Mugabe’s government fell out with western financiers in 2000.

The road project is split in two phases, with the Chinese-Austrian venture building and getting a 20-year concession to operate part of the road, while the other part will be financed by a loan from an unnamed party and investment from CHEC.

The recent renewal of the Plumtree-Mutare road, which runs from Zimbabwe’s western border with Botswana to its eastern border with Mozambique, was completed by Group Five in 2015 at a cost of about $3bn.

Zimbabwe’s economy, suffering its worst crisis since 2008, has left the government unable to pay public servants’ wages on time, and has delayed payment to troops, with 83% of revenue collected going to salary payments.

The country missed its own deadline to repay $1.8bn to the IMF, the World Bank and African Development Bank by June 30.

 

Source – BDLive

 

Prominent Zimbabweans eye ‘National Transitional Authority’ to run country until ‘fair’ elections

A group of prominent Zimbabweans calling themselves “concerned citizens” have proposed a non-political National Transitional Authority to take over the running of the country from the Mugabe regime until “fair” elections can be held.

The group, which includes leading former supporters of Zimbabwe’s autocratic and ageing president Robert Mugabe, senior business people and former veterans of the war against minority white-rule, is calling for the establishment of an 18-member technocratic ruling council.

Amid an open political revolt by a growing number of Mr Mugabe’s former staunch supporters, the citizens’ group has warned that Zimbabwe risks descending into chaos unless a politically neutral body can be established to steer the country towards reforms and free and fair elections.

Zimbabwe is so desperately short of cash - it uses US dollars – that it recently slashed imports and has struggled to pay civil servants. The cash shortage recently sparked several episodes of social unrest and a national strike on July 6.

The signatories said they hoped their proposal would be supported by the African Union as well as the Southern African Development Community, SADC and the international community.

They also said Zimbabwe would need economic support during any transitional period leading to fresh elections.

So far neither Zanu PF nor the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have responded to the announcement.

The group warned of “serious social unrest” and possible “collapse of the state” unless a “Transitional Authority” was created to introduce some “optimism,” and an “acceptable political and socio-economic environment” as well as reforms ahead of fresh elections.

The group says a government of national unity like the one which ran Zimbabwe from 2009 to 2013, would not solve Zimbabwe’s current crisis.

“We are of the opinion that no election in the current political climate, whether called early or in 2018, can resolve the deep structural deficits in the state; and, in any event, no election without considerable reform of the state and the creation of a level playing field, can possibly lead to a legitimate outcome,” they said.

“The Platform of Concerned Citizens (PCC) is a group of like-minded Zimbabweans who have been meeting since October 2015 to discuss the crisis in our country and explore possible solutions.”

Among the 25 who signed the statement are several prominent analysts, human rights activists, academics, business people, as well as some who were part of the liberation organisations prior to independence. Many of them were or are employed or supported by non-governmental organisations.

Elinor Sisulu, a Zimbabwe activist who married into South Africa’s legendary Sisulu family signed the statement, as did Trevor Ncube, a prominent Zimbabwe journalist and publisher of the well known South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian.  It was also supported by Judith Todd the renowned activist and writer who spent years in exile in the UK after her father, Sir Garfield Todd, a former liberal prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, was ousted by right wing Rhodesians lead by Ian Smith.

Ms Todd, who was has written about how she was subjected to a punishment rape by the Mugabe regime in the mid-1980s after she criticised the Mugabe-backed terror campaign in Matabeleland, was stripped of her citizenship by Mr Mugabe in 2003 over her activism.

The statement from the concerned citizens came 24 hours after the ruling Zanu PF party reacted with fury after a group of former Zimbabwean independence war veterans publicly criticised Mr Mugabe’s 36-year rule, accusing him of “bankrupt leadership [and] corruption” while describing him as the “rot [which] needs to be uprooted”.

The group of veterans, who spear-headed invasions of thousands of white-owned farms from 2000 and helped Mr Mugabe’s violent crackdown on opposition political parties, said they would no longer campaign for the ageing strongman.

Zanu PF won a massive if disputed victory at the last elections in 2013, and many commentators say the party is now consumed by factional fights over a successor to 92-year-old Mr Mugabe who says he will fight the next elections in 2018, and intends to stay in office until he dies.

In a statement released to the press on Saturday, the group of ‘concerned citizens’ says the present parliament and senate would continue, but it makes no mention of Mr Mugabe’s executive presidency.

Analysts have said the war veterans’ surprise intervention against their former leader has sealed the fate of the Mugabe regime.

“This is the beginning of the end for Mugabe,” said Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist from Masvingo State University.

“The war veterans have realised Mugabe is sinking and with him his regime. They don’t want to sink with the ship,” said Mr Zhou.

 

Source – The Telegraph

 

NEW THREATS TO CLOSE BEITBRIDGE BORDER OVER IMPORTS BAN

JOHANNESBURG – The International Cross-border Traders Association says it will close down the Beitbridge Border again in a week’s time if the Zimbabwean government doesn’t lift its ban on imports of basic goods. The association has briefed the media in Braamfontein.

Earlier this month, the association led protests in Zimbabwe and South Africa against the trade ban – with the border being closed for several hours and property burnt. Its president, Dennis Juru, says Zimbabweans are against the implementation of restrictions on the importation of food, beauty products and building materials – and says government must abolish the new laws.

 He says the government has been given a deadline of a week.

“After one week we are going to close Beitbridge Border because it is the busiest border in Zimbabwe.” Juru says they are also demanding that police stop their harassment of people entering Zimbabwe.

“We are experiencing a problem where buses are being searched. Maybe [within] 100km you find a police road block.”

The association says should government not heed these calls, it will be joined by other organisations in Zimbabwe at the border next week.

While calm appears to have returned to Zimbabwe following a stay away and violent protests that saw citizens clash with riot police, a group calling itself ‘Tajamuka’ is warning of more protests in the near future – to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe to step down.

The group claims to represent youth formations from different organisations and political parties in Zimbabwe. ‘Tajamuka’ wants government to reverse its policies on the importation of goods and wants it to abandon its plans to introduce bond notes.

 Spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi says problems in Zimbabwe will be resolved as soon as Robert Mugabe is removed from power.

“The people are fed up with President Mugabe and his Zanu-PF and this is because of the escalating economic problems. The government is unable to pay civil servants; something as basic as that.”

The group has also called for immediate release of all the activists arrested for engaging in protests this month.

Source – EWN