“ZISCO Steel and Shabanie Mines are part of our 100-day plan and they should be open within that period; we are working on it.”
No, this extract is not from any recent rally as most would think.
This was President Emerson Mnangagwa promising Chiefs in the Midlands Province that he would resuscitate the ZISCO Steel in January 2018.
So much for promises, the 100 days elapsed and Mnangagwa was later elected into office that same year.
The Zimbabwean steel giant officially closed its doors in 2016 with several investors such as Essar Africa Holdings (2011), Global Steel Holdings (2006), and Guangzhou R&FA (2019) hitting a brick wall on all their efforts.
In 2020, the Office of President and Cabinet took over the hunt for a strategic investor under the direct leadership of the Zimbabwe Development Agency.
During the same year, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Sekai Nzenza in concurrence with the President appointed a new Chief Executive Officer and additional board members citing the paramount importance that the company holds in the mining sector.
Despite all of these efforts, four years later there has been no deliverance on the promise made by the President.
Unemployment figures have been soaring, and most skills have been going to waste. ZISCO Steel in its prime used to employ over 5000 workers across the country and immensely contributed to the growth of the economy.
Addressing a Zanu PF rally in Kwekwe over the weekend, Mnangagwa also dangled the ZISCO Steel revival rhetoric.
“We have been looking for external investors to resuscitate ZISCO Steel and over USD450 million is needed for the resuscitation. ZISCO Steel is owned by the government which has 89% and other stakeholders who have 11%. We settled for Kuvimba, which is 65% owned by the government and it is going to resuscitate ZISCO Steel. The USD450 million is already available,” he said.
The current regime has on various forums been accused of making a wide range of promises but failing to deliver since their ascendance to power.
In an effective accountability model, the government must be clear on its timelines and stick to set deadlines to deliver its promises to the people.