A groundbreaking ceremony for a Norton based tile manufacturing company which was to be presided over by Vice President Kembo Mohadi last Friday had to be postponed indefinitely after it emerged that the Chinese-owned company had no EIA certificate.
Chinese companies have a history of flouting local laws.

A research survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions on Chinese investments into the country found that the Chinese have developed a negative reputation when it comes to business ethics. These include not paying workers on time or paying below minimum wage; having no regard for the environment, employing very few locals and flouting the law while saddling local governments with huge debt.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Japhet Moyo, said a survey conducted on Chinese investments into the country found that they had a bad work ethic.

“We previously did a study on Chinese investment into southern Africa and Africa as a whole and found that the Chinese have a bad work ethic when doing business. These bad practices include not paying workers on time, underpaying workers or paying the workers way below minimum wage. We have even found that some of these Chinese businesses keep most of the money they earn and do not bank it,” Moyo said.

“We found that a lot of these businesses do not follow the law. We have tried reporting to the ministry of Labour, but they have not been helped as we have discovered most of the Chinese people or firms we were reporting had got political links. Government also seems to not want to deal with them, because as long as they build a bridge or power station, for them (government), they remain quiet.”

A 1998 agreement between Zimbabwe and China gives great leeway to the Asian country.

Article 4 of the agreement, stipulates that “neither contracting party shall expropriate, nationalise or take similar measures against investments of investors of the other contracting party in its territory, unless the following conditions are met; for public interest, under domestic legal procedure, without discrimination and against compensation”.

Article 8 of the agreement stipulates that “any dispute between the contracting parties concerning the interpretation or application of this agreement shall, as far as possible, be settled by consultation through diplomatic channels”.

More to follow…

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