'Ziscosteel to reopen before December'

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe’s steel maker New Zimbabwe Steel, formerly Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel), will be revived before December, a government official has said.

A reopening could stem the famine and destitution stalking Redcliff in the wake of the mining group’s shutdown.

Mike Bimha, Industry and Commerce minister, told delegates at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) congress in Bulawayo last week: “Let me assure you that the work on the revival of Ziscosteel also known as New Zimbabwe Steel will definitely commence before the end of this year.”

The company’s estimated 3 000 workers have not been paid since June last year.

Indian firm Essar Holdings’ $750 million takeover of NewZimSteel has stalled because of a dispute over the transfer of mineral resources, forcing officials from the firm to decamp from the Redcliff site.

Three thousand workers and their family members in Redcliff are languishing because of the shutdown, which has affected salaries and medical aid insurance fees.

Yet steel prices are at high on the international markets, and this company, which has found a suitor to pump working capital, also is sitting atop one of the richest and consistently-producing steel veins in the world.

Ziscosteel, a major foreign currency earner before independence in 1980, stopped operations in 2008 at the height of an economic crisis, due to lack of capital to re-equip its plants.

Prior to the takeover, government held about 70 percent in Ziscosteel — once the largest integrated steelworks in the region.

Things at NewZimSteel are getting badly out of hand, with hundreds of angry workers charging that their families were going hungry and plagued by disease.

Workers who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity fearing victimisation said living conditions had deteriorated because they did not even have money to buy food and this might result in violence.

“It is only promises and promises from the side of management and workers are very angry,” said one worker.

NewZimSteel’s rescue has been delayed due to squabbles in government during the inclusive error, amid reports that Welshman Ncube and Obert Mpofu were differing on the sale off of mining claims.


Comments (7)

“Let me assure you that the work on the revival of Ziscosteel also known as New Zimbabwe Steel will definitely commence before the end of this year.” <--- This statement if you read it properly does not say that Zisco will reopen before December, it simply states that work on resuscitating the steel maker will begin before then?? Your headline is inaccurate sir

Tsano - 14 October 2013

Tsono-You are spot on!The headline is misleading.

Ndiringe - 14 October 2013

Misleading headline. Certainly this does not guarantee that operations would have started by then. I think it serves to advise employees and other stakeholders that action will have been initiated by end December 2013. Not operations. Company iya yakamorewa so to speak, they will need to install a lot of new structures and equipment for operations to begin, whichever year that is gonna be.

Jomo - 14 October 2013

Gentleman it seems like you are not looking at the main issue here, weather the headline says it will open in DECEMBER or whenever ,that is not an issue .The main issue here is these workers and their families they should get their money period .Our major problem is that POLITICIANS are the main problem in all this ,they are always expecting a CUT in every DEAL .Anywhere this is the works of ZANU PF ,

CASHTALK - 14 October 2013

good for us all

hmaronga - 14 October 2013

CASHTALK where is the money coming from when these workers haven't done any productive work for over a year? The initial investment money coming should be used to restart operations for many more future salaries .

Gonomics Money - 15 October 2013

Goverment had a 70 % share says it all

buba - 15 October 2013

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