ZISCOSTEEL board chairperson Martin Manhuwa has asked government to consider deploying the army and police to protect the Redcliff-based state-owned company from syndicates stripping its machinery and equipment.
He made the request during a meeting of the inter-ministerial task force that toured the Ziscosteel plant last week.
The task force was led by industry minister Sekai Nzenza.
Manhuwa told the taskforce the cost of resuscitating Ziscosteel will be too high due to unchecked theft of machinery and equipment.
The steel making giant is now a white elephant after it stopped operations in 2016 and most of the obsolete equipment was being stripped for resell as scrap metal.
At its peak, Ziscosteel employed over 5 000 workers and most of them are yet to receive their terminal benefits.
Some of the former workers have resorted to vandalising the equipment to eke out a living.
“I have seen that we have the Joint Operations Command (JOC) here, I would like to appeal for assistance in securing Ziscosteel assets. We have had unprecedented vandalism, destabilisation of Ziscosteel assets, looting, and syndicated crimes,” Manhuwa said.
He said if security forces were not deployed at the derelict plant, “it will make the cost of resuscitating Ziscosteel very high”
.He added, “We are appealing to JOC for assistance so that Zisco assets are protected and syndicated criminals are busted.
“What we have at Zisco is a national asset which we intend to resuscitate, to revive and make sure it’s back on track, as an anchor of our economic recovery in Zimbabwe.
“We have for instance the Kariba expansion project, a ZESA project, we also have the ongoing Hwange Phase 3. These are some of the national signature projects which Ziscosteel could have taken advantage of.”
Through the Ziscosteel revival roadmap, Manhuwa said the board was working around the clock and was encouraging Zimbabweans to take the opportunity of the company’s resuscitation to invest in it.
“On investors, we are looking for both local, regional, and international investors. It is our wish that Zimbabweans can look forward to be investors in the Ziscosteel project.”