What the revival of ZISCO could mean to Zimbabwe


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Full contribution

 HON. J. TSHUMA: Good afternoon Madam Speaker. I also stand to add my voice in appreciation for the efforts that our Head of State, the President has been trying to put across to us as a nation of Zimbabwe. Madam Speaker, I want to speak in particular reference to the issue of industries, in particular one industry called ZISCO Steel.

Madam Speaker, the President is on record talking about issues of corruption and people doing a disservice to the nation. I was looking very much and soberly at the issue of ZISCO Steel with the perspective of the chain reaction that ZISCO Steel can actually bring if it can be opened to start working today. Why I say so Madam Speaker, I have interests in companies like NRZ, which was headquartered in Bulawayo and used to employ so many people in Bulawayo. I have got interests in Hwange Colliery Company where I grew up, which used to be a vibrant company offering superb services to its people but today everything is gone.

I was saying to myself Madam Speaker, here is a company called ZISCO Steel. If we all had to put our efforts into resuscitating that company, without even looking for foreign help because that is a very pivotal company; if ZISCO Steel starts functioning today, guess what happens? We have got Sable Chemicals which used to supply oxygen to ZISCO Steel. For Sable Chemicals to actually get that oxygen, they were using what we call the water electrolysis plant which requires so much electricity. It is on record that Sable Chemicals used to pay ZESA in advance for its electricity, which made ZESA to be liquid enough to be able to service its importation of electricity from the other regional partners like South Africa and Namibia.

Now, because ZISCO Steel is no longer working, Sable Chemicals no longer has to produce that oxygen, which means that they no longer require much power from ZESA. Therefore, there is a crippling effect to ZESA as well as to the manufacturer of our fertilisers. Let us go away from Sable Chemicals in Kwekwe and go to Hwange Colliery Company. There used to be two express trains that used to leave Hwange coming to Kwekwe. Those trains, I remember passenger trains would actually give way to them. They were taking coke from Hwange everyday to ZISCO Steel. That also guaranteed that Hwange Colliery Company would be functional and have its people well employed and paid on time.

While we are at it, for Hwange to transport that coke from Hwange to Kwekwe, NRZ was playing a pivotal role, which means that NRZ was being well paid. So, it was easy to maintain its fleet and pay its workers. Therefore, there was not going to be any need for retrenchment whatsoever. Alas, here we came with our greedy mindsets and started appointing boards that do not even know what they are doing. The whole rot started there. You have a board that does not even have a technical person who knows about locomotives and mining at Hwange Colliery Company. You have a board that is so unclear about what we call corporate governance and then you expect that board to actually hire competent people. How does that happen? Therefore, the people that will be hired in management positions also become useless as much as the board is useless.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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