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Search for New Foreign Partner in Ziscosteel Splits Zimbabwe Unity Government

  • Gibbs Dube

ZANU-PF cabinet members favor a Chinese or other Asian investor while most ministers of the two Movement for Democratic Change formations want either Jindal or Arcelor-Mittal to receive serious consideration

The government of Zimbabwe has renewed its search for a partner in recapitalizing the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, or Ziscosteel after rejecting two prospective bidders, Jindal Steel Private Ltd. of India and the South African subsidiary of Arcelor-Mittal, another global steel giant.

Industry sources said ministers in the country's government of national unity are divided over the Ziscosteel bids with ZANU-PF cabinet members favoring a Chinese or other Asian investor while most ministers of the two Movement for Democratic Change formations want either Jindal or Arcelor-Mittal to receive serious consideration.

Sources said the MDC ministers argued that seeking an Asian partner will be futile as one Chinese investor has already pulled out of a prospective deal citing interference by government officials. ZANU-PF cabinet members countered that a major player might in the longer run completely take over Ziscosteel, diluting sovereign interests.

Minister of State for Enterprises and Parastatals Joel Gabuza declined to comment. But he reportedly told Parliament recently that the government is still interested in the Arcelor-Mittal and Jindal Steel bids.

Political commentator Nkululeko Sibanda of Bulawayo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that ZANU-PF wants to control the company to maintain its own power. β€œIt is therefore necessary for this firm to be privatized than have state resources being misappropriated by a small group of people,” said Sibanda.

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