Zimbabwe’s cartels that are not the real cartels


I JUST read the report by Daily Maverick, that is purporting to expose cartels in Zimbabwe. The problem with the report is it does not include the obvious and leading cartels in Zimbabwe, such as Old Mutual, Innscor, Cassava, Seedco (Limagrain/Monsanto), Anglo America and Delta.

This immediately begs one to question the efficacy of this report and why a report on cartels in Zimbabwe, would leave out the well known cartels that control meat, food, sugar, cement, ethanol, banking, horticulture and fuel.

The bias is eerily similar to the Kangaroo Court being referred to in South Africa as the State Capture Commission, which in a country where 93% of the wealth sits in the hands of the white criminals who perpetuated the crime against humanity of apartheid expects us to believe that black people who control less than 7% of a shrinking stake of South Africa’s wealth, have somehow become powerful enough to capture the state from the thugs who perpetuated apartheid.

What is even more telling is, the Daily Maverick, which wrote this biased report, is a South African media house that belongs to the Oppenheimers and their Anglo American media empire, that is very notorious for spreading anti-black stereotypes, to maintain white supremacy in South Africa.

It would therefore seem, that this racist rag, has decided to use good old South African style propaganda, to selectively tarnish Zimbabwean companies that are not in it’s orbit of influence.

The only plausible reason for this, is white South Africa is targeting companies that have been assisting Zimbabwe to mitigate sanctions imposed by their kith and kin in the west, as a means of maintaining white South African hegemony upon regional economies.

The problem however, is the Daily Maverick can not talk about cartels, when the Oppenheimers and their Anglo American colonial charter company that was enriched by the crime against humanity of colonialism, is the leading cartel in Africa, ahead of Glencore and the seven sisters of oil.

They control over 60% of the South African economy, with huge controlling interests in almost every economic sector from mining, banking, insurance, weapons manufacturing, teargas production, agriculture, chemicals, media and energy. As a result, in South Africa, it’s an open secret that they captured the South African state on behalf of the Rothschild, Rockefeller combine during the time of Cecil Rhodes.

The 1986 peace talks in South Africa were initiated by the Oppenheimers, who instructed the Broederbond (their Afrikaner underlings), to release Mandela once they had satisfied themselves that the ANC would toe the line. An indication that apartheid was underwritten by them.

On his release, Mandela lived in an Oppenheimer mansion and then moved to Dole Stein’s house, which was later turned into a boutique hotel to capitalize on Mandela’s association.

His cabinet was hand picked by the same family, hence, when we see Zuma being persecuted for state capture, it’s hypocrisy of the highest order.

At some point, Anglo America was also the biggest investor in Zimbabwe, controlling over 30% of the Zimbabwean private sector before the economy was transformed.

Then, they had interests in ZISCO Steel, Delta, Bindura Nickel, Barclays Bank, Blue Ribbon, National Foods, Hwange Colliery, Haggie Randi, Mazowe Estates, Spring Master, Border Timbers Hippo Valley, RAL Holdings, Zimbabwe Alloys and many others.

There is currently, growing suspicion that they are the puppet master pulling the strings at Innscor, which fortuitously bought most of Anglos food related businesses.

It was Anglo America and their steel subsidiary Haggie Rand that were central to the collapse of ZISCO Steel, which in 1980 was the biggest Iron and Steel plant in the Southern Hemisphere and the only one in Africa outside South Africa.

The demise of ZISCO began with Anglo as a shareholder in ZISCO, exerting pressure on the government of Zimbabwe and ZISCO’s board, through ZISCO’s Austrian CEO Kurt Kuhn, to push Lancashire Steel to give in to a hostile takeover by Anglo’s subsidiary Haggie Rand.

Lancashire Steel, was a competitor of Haggie Rand in the manufacture of steel wire and rods. The problem however, was Lancaster Steel produced higher quality and cheaper steel products than Haggie Rand, putting pressure on Haggie’s supernormal margins in South Africa.

As a result, Anglo sought to takeover or destroy Lancashire Steel, so that they could enjoy an unchallenged monopoly in Africa.

Anglo, in cahoots with former CEO of Voest Alpine (a supplier of steel manufacturing technology to ZISCO, apartheid South Africa and Angola) Kurt Kuhn, who became CEO of ZISCO after 1980, began to pressure Lancashire to sell to Haggie.

Kurt Kuhn had been the former RISCO CEO (Rhodesia Iron and Steel Company), who grew the Redcliff ZISCO complex into the biggest single iron smelter in the Southern Hemisphere by implementing sanctions busting initiatives, with the collusion of the western world. In 1979 he resigned, however, a year later the Zimbabwean government offered him a contract to continue his work.

On his return, he brought staff from Voest Alpine to capacitate ZISCO staff and to undertake an over inflated $200mil recapitalization, financed by the West German government. With this, he used his clout as CEO, to mislead the Zimbabwean government into believing that Lancaster Steel was transfer pricing and should be taken over by Anglo.

The Zimbabwean government, through Minister of Industry Kumbirai Kangai, began to push Lancaster steel to accept the bid from Haggie Rand but they refused.

To induce the sale, the Zimbabwean government gave Haggie Rand bigger subsidies for exports than Lancashire. When ZISCO increased steel and iron prices by 25%, they prohibited Lancashire from passing the cost onto their customers.

In 1984, Kurt Kuhn’s contract came to an end and he used his Swiss based human resources agency, to poach Voest Alpine staff and some ZISCO high fliers to leave ZISCO, leaving the company incapacitated.

Jobs were lost at Lancaster Steel, management was purged, until eventually the company was sold to the government and ZISCO. Soon after, Lancashire Steel, now under government control, signed an exclusive off-take contract with Haggie Rand.

With that, in 1985 in the depth of apartheid South Africa’s sanctions on Zimbabwe, the apartheid government imposed a 50% tariff on Lancaster Steel products entering the South African market. This made the once competitive Lancashire Steel products uncompetitive against Haggie’s inferior products, resulting in Lancashire making huge loses that wilted the company.

About the same time, huge investment was poured into capacitating South Africa’s recently denationalized steel industry, ISCOR and Anglo smelters, with the assistance of Voest Alpine. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, international multi-lateral lending institutions denied Zimbabwe loans to upgrade ZISCO, forcing the country to import steel from South Africa and focus on mineral extraction and agriculture as the west began to deindustrialize Zimbabwe.

By late 2000, ZISCO Steel, with outdated machinery, could no longer compete with the efficiencies of ISCOR, Anglo and South African steel companies. This would lead to the collapse of ZISCO, linked industries and the loss of over 50 000 jobs.

Anglo and Kuhn had successfully created an Anglo American monopoly in steel wire and rods and apartheid South Africa’s ISCOR and South African steel companies, had become a steel cartel in Africa. This was right inline with the western and the apartheid government agenda, of destroying black capacity to manufacture steel in Africa.

In South Africa, the moment the ANC came to power, ISCOR and SASOL (which was developed by Anglo bringing the Fischer Tropsch technology to South Africa), state owned enterprises under apartheid, were immediately privatized and sold to deny the black government, the power to control steel manufacturing and fuel production. This was done to ensure that the black government had no capacity to industrialize and would remain at the mercy of the Oppenheimers, as was done to Zimbabwe.

Over and above the role Anglo played in building South Africa’s monopoly in iron smelting, Anglo America is even more of a dominant player in global gold and platinum mining, refinery and sales.

They own gold and platinum mines, while holding controlling stakes in the British gold and platinum refinery Johnson Matthey and Germany’s BASF, which bought the US refinery Engelhart Industries, in which the Oppenheimers had substantial shareholding.

Their shareholding in these refineries, earned Anglo America a seat on the cartel that sells and fixes gold and platinum prices globally. This cartel, referred to as the London Fix or the London Bullion Market Association, is overseen by the Bank of England and members such as Goldman Sachs, HSBC, BASF and Standard Chartered Bank.

Today, we hear that the government of Zimbabwe, is selling a stake of its gold refinery to a company in which the former CEO of Implats will play a part. One wonders if Anglo America and the Oppenheimers are not behind this move.

In mining, Anglo America and the Oppenheimer investment trust had shares in almost all major mining companies from the biggest gold mine in the world: Brazils Morro Velho, Rio Tinto, to Glencore and BHP Billiton. In 1981 they controlled the biggest resource trading company in the world: Phillipp Brothers or Philbro that once belonged to one of their partner companies Engelhart industries. I’m just not sure if they still control this entity.

This is the extent of the Anglo American global cartel. So for their media house to write an article on Zimbabwean cartels, without first talking about the overbearing global monopoly that is Anglo America, is really an insult on our intelligence.

It also makes us wonder if they are attempting to pull another Lancashire Steel move, to destroy companies that are assisting Zimbabwe to bust sanctions in the same way Swiss Contra AG and SALG were created by Anglo and Rio Tinto to bust sanctions for RISCO and Bindura Nickel, for the Rhodesian government.

By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare of Zimbabweans Unite Against US War Sanctions.