WASHINGTON DC —
Industry Minister Mike Bimha is expected to visit New Zimbabwe Steel (Pvt) Limited to reassess the situation in Redcliff, more than three years after Essar Africa Holdings of India signed a $750 million agreement with government to revive Ziscosteel.
Chairman of the Ziscosteel Joint Workers’ Unions, Benedict Moyo, says they have been formally told that Bimha will be meeting with workers at the steelworks as workers struggle to make ends meet.
Moyo says workers hope that Bimha will announce new moves to revive Ziscosteel, which was shutdown a couple of years ago due to lack of capital.
"We hope he is not coming here to just look at our battered faces. We have suffered for a very long time and now we only live on hope," he says.
He says thousands of children of abandoned workers have dropped out of school while the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has been of late disconnecting power to household failing to pay bills.
"The situation has deteriorated a lot as pensioners are no longer getting their allowances and banks are impoundng workers' property for failing to service loans obtained a few years ago," he says.
Minister Bimha was not reachable as he was not answering his mobile phone. Efforts to revive Ziscosteel have been hit by government dissatisfaction over iron ore deposits that are said to have been parceled to the Indian firm, amounting to billions of dollars.
Essar management is said to be on the verge of pulling out of the deal.