Govt fires 3 000 Ziscosteel workers

HARARE - Government yesterday announced plans to fire all Ziscosteel (Zisco) workers starting next month.

In his 2016 National Budget statement presented in Parliament yesterday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed the collapse of the $750 million Essar deal.

Chinamasa said the resuscitation of operations at Ziscosteel will have upstream and downstream benefits to the economy, hence, the need for government to secure an investor as soon as possible through private placement.

“Central to this will be the need to free the Zisco balance sheet of historical ‘baggage liabilities’, including an accumulation of new obligations with regards to wages that arise on account of workers that are not producing anything, and are actually sitting at home or pursuing other engagements,” he said.

“Accordingly, all contracts for Zisco employees will be terminated on a three month notice with effect from December 01, 2015.”

Economic analysts said the move to fire nearly 3 000 Zisco works is a slap on the face for President Robert Mugabe’s administration that cruised its way to power in the 2013 elections after promising to create 2,2 million jobs.

Since the controversial election victory, the economy has struggled with massive company closures, job losses, and electricity shortages. It is also failing to woo foreign investors.

Heralded as a deal of the decade when Indian steel giant Essar Africa (Essar) in 2011 snapped government’s majority shareholding in Zisco, the deal was meant to breathe new life into the Kwekwe and Redcliff communities and downstream industries but has failed to take off the ground.

A new company formed between Essar and government — New Zimsteel — was earmarked to takeover vast iron ore deposits formerly held by Zisco but the deal was stalled by bickering within the inclusive government.

This resulted in the Indian investor pulling out of the deal early this year citing legacy debts amounting to over $300 million and lack of cooperation from the government.

Essar had also indicated that they could only absorb 2 400 of the 3 500-strong workforce at Zisco.

The integrated steelmaker was once a key pillar of the economy before it was rundown through mismanagement and corruption.

Comments (3)

Well done ZANU PF gvt...this will go a long way to creating minus 2.2mil jobs. Destroy and destroy is all what these so called liberators. Being a former employee of ZISCO I cry and cry for that establishment, from being a pinnacle of Southern African economy to what it is today is only testimony to what Smith these mother f%$#s they will destroy this country to ruins

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