By William Milasi
FORMER president Robert Mugabe never wanted Zisco Steel to reopen as evidenced by corruption and underhand dealings that hampered the efforts to revive the sleeping giant, Zanu PF National chairperson, Oppah Muchinguri said.
She said this at a rally in Redcliff over the weekend where she was drumming up support for Zanu PF parliamentary candidate who is also local government minister July Moyo.
She admitted that corruption within Mugabe’s administration stifled efforts aimed at reviving the parastatal.
Now in a comatose state, Zisco Steel, once one of Africa’s integrated steel works, stopped production at its Redcliff base in 2008.
Majority owned by the State, the company effectively stopped production after being crippled by corruption, poor management and political interference.
In August 2016, the company retrenched its entire workforce. The layoffs followed the collapse of a multi-million-dollar revival deal with India’s Essar group.
Speaking of the new administration in Harare, Muchinguri said, “The new administration has given a new lease of life in the country.”
She heaped praises on Mnangagwa as the Messiah who has extricated the country from its, “former pariah status.”
“Government is working around the clock to see the revival of Zisco Steel,” she said.
Mugabe, the Zanu PF bigwig claimed, never wanted to see Zisco Steel revival.
“The person who was in charge of this country never wanted to see the resuscitation of Zisco Steel. There was much corruption and under hand dealings,” she said.
In 2011, Mugabe with his then power sharing Prime Minister the late Morgan Tsvangirai, signed the company’s elaborate takeover by Essar group.
The deal never came to fruition after serious bickering within the deeply divided inclusive government.
“President Mnangagwa is a straightforward and honest man who abhors corruption. It’s unlike in the previous administration where people wanted kick- backs to perform a particular task,” she said.
The resuscitation of Zisco Steel, the cabinet minister explained, will benefit downstream industries.
Government is currently locked in talks with a Chinese R&F on the possible takeover of Zisco in a US$1 billion deal.
Government, earlier this year, gazetted the Zisco (Debt Assumption) Bill to take over about $500 million owed to both domestic and external debtors.