By Staff Reporter
REDCLIFF mayor Clayton Masiyatsva is upbeat the recent $7 million debt settlement to the local authority by government will go a long way in alleviating the plight of residents in the steelworks suburb, which has gone for years without consistent water supplies.
Last week, Treasury released $7 million to Redcliff as part repayment towards settling a $14 million debt accrued by the now defunct integrated steelworks, Ziscosteel.
Once the mainstay of Redcliff and most of Midlands economy, Ziscosteel stopped production in 2009.
The steel company was weighed down by management incompetence, corruption, political interference as well as under-capitalisation.
Government then took over all of its debts as part of efforts to attract investment and help revive the company.
“The settling of part of the debt by government will go a long in improving service delivery to the town,” Masiyatsva told NewZimbabwe.com.
Following the closure of Ziscosteel, residents in Redcliff have borne the brunt of the company’s closure over a decade ago.
The closure consigned service delivery onto the intensive care unit as council has, among some of its obligations, been failing to consistently supply water to residents.
This has seen residents turn to unprotected water sources leading to fears of waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera.
Redcliff owes nearby local authority Kwekwe City $3, 9 million and has paid $1 million towards settling the debt.
Said the mayor, “The part payment from government comes as a relief to council as we have at least partly paid Kwekwe City towards our own water debt, paid our employee salaries and partly paid some statutory obligations.”
Kwekwe City has often threatened to cut water supplies to Redcliff if the debt was not settled.