Redcliff pins hope on Zisco revival

DESPITE recording some developmental positives through the Government’s devolution programmes, Redcliff Town believes sustainable and long-term development is hinged on the successful revival of Ziscosteel.

The giant iron and steel company collapsed at the height of hyperinflation in 2008 and its demise has frustrated a lot of downstream businesses including the sustenance of key public services such as health, water, and energy.

To facilitate the company’s revival, the Government has appointed Kuvimba Mining House to lead the resuscitation efforts. Following the completion of feasibility studies and the signing of necessary contracts, the investor had a few months ago hinted at plans to inject about US$300 million in new capital to kickstart the re-building of steel works using modern technology.

US Dollars

Town Clerk, Mr Gilson Chakauya, said they were eagerly looking forward to the re-opening of Ziscosteel as reliance on devolution funds alone was not enough.

“Devolution funds alone are not enough for the projects that we are embarking on and we need to use our own council coffers at times,” he said. 

“Since the closure of Ziscosteel, we have been facing financial inflows and its reopening is good news to us because it will boost our revenue.” 

Mr Chakauya said Ziscosteel owes the council more than any other entity and hoped that the revival of Ziscosteel would also inject a new lease of life in terms of boosting consumer incomes.

“We are cashing those billables that we are owed by Zisco. They owe us about 65 percent of our billables and to address some of the challenges, we are in the process of separating our electricity meter so that we can be billed separately as it was causing confusion,” he said.

Mr Chakauya said they had engaged Ziscosteel so that they can take over some of the infrastructure, which is lying idle.

“We have opened talks with the company so that they can either lease to us or sell to us infrastructure like stadia and flats, which are currently lying idle,” he said. 

“We are not sure whether they want to utilize them upon reopening or what but we are eager to have the infrastructure rehabilitated,” he said.

Mr Chakauya said the re-opening of Ziscosteel will bring a lot of investment in the town, which will boost downstream business activity.

“We have a lot of downstream and upstream companies, which rely on Zisco. This is why we also want the best delivery of service to be rendered hence the projects that we undertake using devolution funds,” he said.

Redcliff is also looking to solve perennial water challenges by constructing an independent water treatment plant using devolution funds. Following Ziscosteel’s collapse, many residents were left with no option but to travel about 15 kilometres to Kwekwe to access health care services.

Bell Medical Centre and Torwood Clinic, which used to be owned by Ziscosteel, were later purchased by an individual who failed to profitably operate the medical facilities and closed them down.

It took the utilisation of devolution funds for Redcliff Municipality to purchase the medical facilities and is now in the process of rehabilitating them so that they serve the Redcliff community.

The municipality has also committed to avail funding towards the project while awaiting the completion of upgrade works. In the meantime, the council has rehabilitated Redcliff Clinic, which is already serving the community and has been repainted, tiled, and installed with a solar-powered borehole system to alleviate water and power shortages.

Since inception of the devolution concept in 2019, Redcliff has managed to complete about 21 projects but the major chunk was channelled towards health.

The municipality has also purchased plant and equipment, serviced residential and commercial stands, repaired sewer pipes, and replaced water valves, among other projects. The local authority is in the process of servicing more than 4 000 stands, which will be released to the public in a short space of time. Mr Chakauya said the local authority was doing all it could to improve people’s lives.

“We have so far embarked on improving public lighting, and other projects including the refurbishment of the old people’s home dining hall, and other projects. The major project is the purchase of the two health facilities and we are looking forward to completing their rehabilitation so that they can start working and accept patience,” he said.

Chronicle

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