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Zisco property attached

The Sheriff of the High Court yesterday attached vehicles, machinery and other movable property belonging to the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) following an execution order granted by the court over retrenched employees’ unpaid salaries.

Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company workers walk to its plant in Redcliff, Kwekwe
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company workers walk to its plant in Redcliff, Kwekwe

Zisco’s former employees, who were represented by Matsikidze-Mucheche and Partners Legal Practitioners, are owed more than $60 million in unpaid salaries dating back to eight years ago.

A Deputy Sheriff was yesterday seen collecting machinery and other movable property for auction at the company’s manufacturing plant in Redcliff.

The property is believed to be worth thousands of dollars. A former Zisco employee, who refused to be named said the workers had gone for eight years without salary prior to their retrenchment on a three months’ notice by Government in 2016.

“On Tuesday, the Messenger of Court came and attached movable properties that include vehicles,” said the employee. “Today (yesterday) the Messenger of Court came and took some equipment from stores and an assortment of machinery from the machine shop.

“We have not been paid for about eight years before we were dismissed last year. We are owed more than $60 million by Government in unpaid salaries. When we were retrenched we were not given packages which we agreed on and Government has not honoured that.”

Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa could neither confirm nor deny the development. “Well, the administration of the ministry cannot be discussed in the newspaper,” she said. “What I can say to you is that the Zisco situation is under control and that it will be resuscitated regardless of the existing challenges.

“We are not going to fold hands because of the issues of the Messenger of Court. Resuscitation of Zisco is part of the ministry’s priorities. We are not saying there are no challenges, they are there, but we are addressing them. However, that would not hamper Government’s efforts to resuscitate Zisco,” she added.

During his 2016 budget presentation, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that the steel giant had relieved more than 1 500 workers on three months’ notice.

Minister Chinamasa also announced that Government would take over the integrated steel works’ debt which effectively confirmed the collapse of the Essar deal consummated in September 2011 in an initial transaction worth $750 million.

Government and Zisco workers have been at loggerheads, with the employees demanding that Government follows proper procedures of terminating contracts as stipulated by the Labour Act and also emphasised that there was need for Government to pay outstanding salaries before the workers were offloaded. The Herald