Local Ownership — for the Benefit of a few

FOLLOWING Independence many listed companies made efforts to encourage greater Zimbabwean participation in company ownership and a chance of sharing in the country’s wealth.

Unfortunately for the last few years many of these very same companies have been treating small shareholders with contempt even to the extent of making efforts to divest themselves of this “nuisance” group.

A recent example of the disdain was shown by OK which decided to send its annual report and notice of the AGM only to a few of the larger shareholders, clearly exposing the dishonesty to which some companies are prepared to stoop.

This meant that some small shareholders, such as myself, were deprived of our rights! I have never been happy with the quality of OK’s top management, particularly that of its CEO, the above action only strengthening my belief!

Over the past 10 years or so, there has been a distinct trend and noticeable deterioration in the quality, care and concern shown to small shareholders by the new breed of executives and top management, a view expressed by many, who are seemingly more concerned, at any costs, with making themselves rich in the shortest possible time!

The government’s aim is for 51% Zimbabwean ownership of foreign firms, but clearly only for the benefit of a few!

M Leppard,
Harare.

OK Zimbabwe Ltd respond:
WE would like to advise the writer and for the benefit of other shareholders that as a listed company, we endeavour to treat our shareholders equally regardless of whether they are major or minor shareholders.

Notices of shareholders’ meetings and our financial statements are published in the press in accordance with the requirements of the law.

In terms of article 142 of our Articles of Association, notices are to be sent to all members by way of advertisements published in the daily press. To this end, a notice of the annual general meeting was published in the Herald of July 8.

However, given our large shareholder base of over 28 558 as at August 31 2009, it is very costly to send annual reports and notices to every shareholder, and some of our shareholders may not receive annual reports due to circumstances beyond our control. In order to improve communication we encourage our shareholders to constantly check the local press for notices and annual accounts that we publish from time to time.

We also advise our shareholders to contact our offices should they have any queries regarding the affairs of the company. For shareholder information they can ask for the company secretary who should be able to assist.

L Murinda,
Company Secretary.