Friday, May 14, 2010

How to Destroy an Economy

In one of the e-news offerings that I receive I read with interest how Shabanie Asbestos Mine is to sue the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) for several million US dollars.

Shabanie Mine was originally owned by (I think) Turner & Newell. In the early days of Zimbabwean Independence the mine and other T & N Assets were bought by SMM Holdings – an empire created by a Zimbabwean business mogul, Mutumwa Mawere. Mawere fell foul of the ZANU PF ‘authorities’ and he found his empire ceded to the Zimbabwe Government. The government took over management of the empire including Shabanie Mine.

In recent months the mine has been flooded. The reason? ZESA cut off their electricity for non-payment of the bills which one must assume, ran into millions of dollars. Certainly hundreds of thousands. One has to also presume that ZESA gave warning that if the bills were not paid, electricity supply would be terminated.

The mine is flooded, the bills have not yet been paid. ZESA will not provide ‘free’ electricity any more. So the government now wants to sue ZESA!

Will that bring the mine back into operation? What about the workers – several hundred are now out of work?

And government wants 51% of your business!