THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has refuted claims by President Robert Mugabe and Industry minister Mike Bimha that most of the businesses in Bulawayo which had shut down due to de-industrialisation had “miraculously” resumed operations.
BY Nqobile Bhebhe
Addressing Zanu PF delegates at the party’ 15th annual conference in Victoria Falls over the weekend, Bimha claimed most companies in the city were back on their feet courtesy of some interventions by the Zanu PF government.
“The media usually writes about companies closing, but have forgotten to write about those revived through government programmes,” Bimha said.
In response, Mugabe said: “I think when you heard the number of companies which are back on their feet, you were surprised, I was actually surprised because I didn’t know that some of the companies, especially in Bulawayo, had revived or survived the hard times.
“We heard, for example, that the Cold Storage Company (CSC) is once again on its feet, but now we want the Cold Storage entities in Bulawayo, Harare, Marondera Chinhoyi and Masvingo to come back to life.”
However, ZCTU western region chairperson Reason Ngwenya yesterday said the claims were false as company closures were getting worse.
“I am not really aware of the said revived industries, maybe they are talking about the industries which they revived and instead of employing local people they brought their own people from outside Bulawayo to work in those companies,” Ngwenya said.
Once regarded as the country’s manufacturing hub, Bulawayo has seen over 100 companies close shop in recent years and relocate to other cities, culminating in massive job losses in the city.
Economists have indicated that the city’s industrial sector required about $500 million to recapitalise.
Mugabe has previously equated Bulawayo to a big scrapyard with the continued massive de- industrialisation of the city.