The Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu has this Wednesday appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Indigenisation to clarify government policy on indigenisation and economic empowerment.

Minister Ndlovu said companies are no longer compelled to cede their shareholding using the 51/49 percent model, while a new empowerment policy is on the cards.

He says indigenisation has been toned down to apply only to the diamond and platinum sectors.

Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu

Minister Ndlovu revealed that all registered community share ownership trusts are going to be continued with the objective of improving livelihoods of communities.

He told the committee that government is in the process of engaging stakeholders to get wide-ranging views to be tabled in the new indigenisation and empowerment policy likely to be ready in 6 months.

“We are coming up with an economic empowerment policy where priority is given to locals in the extractive sector.

“We are still in the process of coming up with legislation responding to the 2018 Finance Act prior to 2018 when companies were ceding 10 percent shareholding in community share trusts. We are coming up with consultative programmes involving all community share ownership trusts in the next 4 to 6 months,” said Minister Ndlovu.

A member of the portfolio committee queried why in areas such as Mutoko, companies that are mining there are not ploughing back to the communities, adding that infrastructure such as roads is being destroyed without any attempt to rehabilitate it.

In response, the minister said the Environmental Management Agency must enforce its laws while companies must engage in corporate social responsibility programmes to ensure communities benefit from natural resources in the areas.

Minister Ndlovu revealed that a conference for all community share ownership trusts, both operational and non-operational, is on the cards to gather input into the policy.

He said an Economic Empowerment Unit will be established to replace the role of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board.