Flash Briefing: Small farmers get govt. grant, Fossil Mines buys stake in Zim platinum, SAA subsidiaries seek investors

By Melani Nathan

  • South Africa’s government announced a R1bn relief program for subsistence farmers. The funds will provide successful applicants with as much as R9,000 each to help them tend their small-scale farms, Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza told reporters on Monday. The government plans to distribute the money by March, she said. The program is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic stimulus package for small-scale food producers.
  • Great Dyke Investments, a Russian-backed project planning to build Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum mine, has sold a 4.4% stake to Fossil Mines as Covid-19 disrupted fundraising for the venture. Fossil will invest R456m in the Darwendale project. That leaves tycoon Vitaliy Machitski’s Vi Holding and Zimbabwe’s Landela Mining Venture each with a 47.8% stake. The sale values Great Dyke Investments at R10.3bn. The Darwendale project has the potential to become one of the world’s biggest platinum mines and its development is central to the Zimbabwean government’s plans to reboot a collapsing economy. Former president Robert Mugabe handed the Darwendale concession to Russian investors in 2006 after the government repossessed land from a local unit of South Africa’s Impala Platinum Holdings.
  • South Africa isn’t just in talks with potential buyers of a stake in the country’s insolvent state-owned airline SAA, it’s also seeking partners for subsidiaries such as low-cost airline Mango and catering unit Air Chefs. The result will be a number of private-sector entities working with various parts of South African Airways whenever it resumes operations, according to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. The government had 30 expressions of interest in SAA. The search for a partner for SAA is central to Gordhan’s plan to revive the airline a year after the company went into business rescue.

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