ZISCOSTEEL is set to be operational by March this year after almost seven years of inactivity, a Redcliff town council official has said.
A top delegation from Redcliff City Council, which met with government representatives and Essar Africa Holdings, said the dormant steel-making giant, Ziscosteel, was set to be revived.
Speaking on the sidelines of an all afternoon prayer vigil in Torwood, town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedzwe said they were made to believe that New Zimsteel (Ziscosteel) would begin serious operations by end of March.
“We have received promises that Ziscosteel (New Zimsteel) will start working by end of March because all paperwork has been finalised what is now left is implementation,” she said.
“If it does not go according to that plan, we will have to go back to the authorities and ask for explanations.”
Just three years ago President Robert Mugabe officially cut the ribbon at Ziscosteel to symbolise the official opening of a company that last produced steel in 2008.
He promised that furnaces at the sleeping giant would be coughing smoke once again, as the country moved to resuscitate the ailing economy, but until now, the furnaces are still choked with spider webs.
In an effort to remove the red tape on failed government policy, more than 65 churches, Ziscosteel workers and their families gathered at Torwood Stadium for the second time in two years to pray for the $750 million share takeover deal between the government and Essar Africa Holdings, which appears to be in limbo.
Gwatipedza said the local authority was struggling to meet basic service delivery and pay salaries of its employees because it was owed over $14 million by residents and industry.
“The majority of our clients are workers of Ziscosteel and because they have not received salaries for nearly 50 months, it has become so difficult for them to pay their bills and this affects operations of the local authority,” she said.
“We are, therefore, hopeful that God will answer our prayers and Ziscosteel will open.”
Organising secretary for the Saturday all-afternoon prayer vigil, reverend Pardon Chingovo said Redcliff-based churches had called for the prayer to ask God to heal a bleeding Zimbabwean economy.
“We want God to heal Zimbabwe whose industry continues to shrink by the day, especially in Redcliff were our congregation is suffering owing to the closure of Ziscosteel and the downsizing of other companies, we want God to heal this disease,” he said.
Chingovo’s statements came just after 1 000 people who gathered for prayers at the stadium gave offerings amounting to just $58.