THE chairman of Eskom in South Africa, Reuel Khoza, said Zimbabwe should be shown the “red card” if it continued to default on payments to his company.
Khoza said from a purely business point of view Zimbabwe would at “some stage” need the support of the international community.
He said a working group in big business in South Africa had suggested to the South African government the need for disciplinary steps against countries such as those used in soccer – a yellow card (written caution) and a red card (expulsion).
He said: “It is a misconception that Eskom is a major supplier of electricity to Zimbabwe. It was the most reliable supplier, but it has reduced from 500 megawatts to 115 megawatts the amount it would provide to be paid in arrears, and everything above 115 megawatts has to be paid for in cleared foreign exchange”.
Khoza said while Anglo American Corporation Ltd had expressed, directly and indirectly, its “strong disappointment at developments in Zimbabwe”, it had a responsibility to protect employees and facilities against the time when the country “returns to normal and needed investment”.
Sipho Pityana, managing director (strategic business development) Nedbank Corporate, South Africa said: “Taking Zimbabwe as an example, the question was raised: What would it take for action to be taken in regard to the situation in this country? No one believes that nothing should be done in Zimbabwe. It is however a matter of approach as to what should be done. The leadership in Zimbabwe has been subjected to pressure, and to second-guess the approach that has been taken is merely to quibble with it.
Nevertheless, the country remains a problem for Africa because the pressure that has been applied appears not to have worked.”
Shingi Munyeza, chief executive officer of Zimsun Leisure group, said there is “pain” in visiting Africa due to high costs – not only financial. Fewer people visited Africa than a tiny country such as Singapore, and Munyeza suggested among the reasons for this was poor air transfers and lack of progress on an “open skies” agreement.
Munyeza also highlighted lack of progress on cross-border tourist flows, mentioning in particular the much-heralded “Univisa” which the Southern African Development Community has so far failed to implement.
Samuel Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and International Trade, laid blame for Zimbabwe’s problems at the door of the “descendants of colonialists”.
He said he believed that Zanu PF was applying “sound governance” for the people of Zimbabwe who had returned it to power last year.
Anil Kumarshing Gayan, Mauritius’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation said the Iraq war had deflected the developed world’s attention away from Africa. He cited the small amount of time allocated to Africa at the recent G8 meeting in Evian, France, and a significant decline in coverage of the continent by the world’s media.
He pointed to a more direct adverse development – French president Jacques Chirac’s invitation to President Robert Mugabe to February’s France/Africa Summit in Paris. Gayan said after that meeting, Chirac felt he had the support of Africa in his stance over Iraq. Subsequently, when France voted against the United States in the United Nations, Africa suffered from the negative fallout in the US.