Zimbabwean packaging maker Hunyani Printopak, the country’s leading manufacturer of cardboard cartons and labels, is closing its plant in Bulawayo and moving operations to Harare, leaving some 150 workers jobless and thousands of waste paper recyclers without a key source of income, industry and political sources said.
Workers of Hunyani Printopak told VOA that management has been moving to wind down the operation in Bulawayo, capital of Matabeleland, without informing employees.
The workers said Group Technical Director Laurie Watermeyer has been assigned to move company machinery to Harare where the plant will be re-established.
Sources said the plant closure will hit related local companies like National Waste which gets its raw material from thousands of individual suppliers and firms.
Managers of Hunyani Printopak, a subsidiary company of Hunyani Holdings, declined to comment.
Industry Minister Welshman Ncube told reporter Gibbs Dube the closure is unacceptable as it comes just a few weeks after the shutdown of two other large private firms in Bulawayo – National Blankets Ltd. and National Foods Ltd.
Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Amen Mpofu said the closure of such big companies has baffled local government as these same companies have opened plants in Harare.
Hunyani Printopak supplies cartons and labels to companies Nestle Zimbabwe, Lyons, Innscor Group, British American Tobacco and Delta Beverages, among others.
The company was awarded an internationally recognized certificate of competence two weeks ago by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe for its high quality products.