Baboons now ‘residents’ at defunct ZISCO – says Industry Minister; company’s revival to cut US$1bn steel imports bill

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By Staff Reporter

Industry and Commerce Minister, Sekai Nzenza, has sarcastically said baboons had made home of former integrated steel giant, Ziscosteel situated at Redcliff, Kwekwe.

Once arguably the biggest steel manufacturing plant in Africa, corruption, mismanagement, political interference and gross incompetence brought Ziscosteel to its knees, leading to its subsequent closure in 2016.

Since then, government has been trying to court an investor with little success – reducing talk of Ziscosteel’s resuscitation to mere political campaign talk.

Nzenza said she recently invited investors to the now defunct plant, which is now a white elephant albeit maintained by a skeletal staff, and were met by baboons roaming the facility.

“Few months ago, we had investors that we took to Ziscosteel,” she said.

“I once visited Ziscosteel as a secondary school student and saw smoke coming out of the plant; so many people were in employment we were one of the largest steel manufacturer in Southern Africa.

“Recently when we took investors at the site we could see baboons jumping from place to place.

“The President said we must up the value chain. His Excellency saw that industry needed to be resuscitated. We have vast natural resources.”


She added; “In the past we were known as the bread basket of Africa, we were known for massive industries, like Ziscosteel, our infrastructure the National Railways of Zimbabwe, but something happened, we will not go into what happened, because we all know what happened,” she said.

The minister said the subsequent closure of Ziscosteel led to an increase in imports, which have seen the country losing US$1 billion.

“What happened we started importing, the problem is imports. On steel we have massive iron ore deposits. We are currently import over US$1 billion worth of steel,” she said.

Nzenza added imports would consequently make the country’s infrastructural development “quite expensive.”

New investors would bring the much needed new technology, the minister said.

Nzenza added that government has a massive plan for Ziscosteel resuscitation.

“We are going to have a positive story to be told that Ziscosteel will be resuscitated,” she said.

“We are currently in conversation with some of the biggest manufacturing steel people in the world, so that’s a positive trajectory towards the President’s vision of import substitution in steelmaking.”