Back to Index
Roundup Bulletin No. 20 - 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
May 24, 2012
Below is a summary
of proceedings of Portfolio Committees that received oral evidence
from their stakeholders on policy issues under their purview.
Committee on Industry and Commerce
received oral evidence from the workers representatives of New Zimbabwe
Steel Company on their plight as a result of the stalemate between
government and ESSAR, the company that took over from ZISCO STEEL.
The Zimbabwe government now wants to renegotiate the terms of the
agreement after having signed the agreement and officially handed
over the company to ESSAR a couple of months ago. As part of the
agreement, ESSAR Holdings injected a capital of $750 million, giving
it a 60% stake in NewZim Steel and also inherited ZISCO STEEL’s
debt of $340 million in foreign and domestic liabilities.
The head of
the worker’s delegation, Mr. Benedict Moyo, informed the Committee
that 4 May 2012, the ESSAR Human Resources Manager, Mr. Chikukwa
announced the cessation of salaries until ESSAR and the Government
of Zimbabwe had finalized the deal, despite prior assurances given
by ESSAR that they would pay salaries regardless of the progress
on the deal.
Mr. Moyo also
highlighted that their welfare has been adversely affected by this
abrupt change in agreement. Most of the worker’s children
have been sent back home from boarding schools for failure to pay
school fees, while some were unable to pay for their Ordinary and
Advanced level Examination fees. Some of the workers are failing
to pay back their loans. He informed the Committee that during the
ZISCOSTEEL era, the workers would receive assistance during bereavement
and sickness from the sale of sundries. However, the sale of sundries
has since been stopped resulting in the terminally ill and pensioners
not receiving any benefits from the NewZim Steel Company leaving
most workers destitute and some left to die with no medical assistance.
representatives informed the Committee that they raised their issue
with the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Prof. Welshman Ncube
and gathered that the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Industry
and Commerce had done their part and the only snag was Ministry
of Mines and Mining Development. Although the workers representatives
did not explain exactly the nature of the snag with the Ministry
of Mines and Mining Development, information at hand reveals that
the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development was still to finalize
the handover of Buchwa and Chiredzi iron ore mining concessions
to ESSAR as part of the agreement.
plea to the Portfolio Committee of Industry and Commerce was that
they required a briefing on the progress of the Government of Zimbabwe
and ESSAR deal, as they were never involved in the negotiations
of the deal in the first place. They recommended that an interim
relief in salaries be considered by the employers for at least 5
months, to enable them to plan as well as improve their welfare.
The workers representatives also urged the government to conclude
the deal as a matter of urgency not only for the sake of the plight
of the New Zimbabwe Steel workers but also for the whole economy
as the iron ore industry had a great effect on other downstream
Committee on Agriculture
The ARDA Acting
General Manager and Head of Planning, Mr. Mbona, testified before
the Committee on the operations of ARDA at its estates and the status
of Chisumbanje Ethanol Project. Mr. Mbona outlined the following
challenges that ARDA was facing in the discharge of its mandate
equipment or equipment that needs rehabilitation
- Absence of
long term financing in the local money market: ARDA has resorted
to partnerships and joint ventures to alleviate challenges with
- Delays in
being paid by GMB for maize delivered
- Lack of experienced
personnel in management: some managers left ARDA during the hyperinflation
period. ARDA is now retraining or replacing inexperienced managers.
- High utility
bills from ZESA and ZINWA
He also informed
the Committee that ARDA was scouting for partners to revive its
beef and dairy cattle herd. The Committee heard that ARDA currently
had a herd of 1062 beef and 218 dairy cattle. When queried about
what happened to a herd that once stood at 36 000, the Acting General
Manager indicated that sometime in 1998/99, ARDA embarked on a destocking
exercise and sold most of its cattle to A2 farmers. In addition,
he told the Committee that ARDA lost some of its estates that held
the bulk of its herd to the land reform programme.
On the Chisumbanje
Ethanol Project, the Committee heard that the plant started producing
ethanol in September 2011, but shut down in February 2012 because
the ethanol stock pile had reached the holding capacity of 10 million
liters. The production levels have been rising steadily from 200
000 litres per month in September 2012 to 500 000 liters as of end
of March this year. He noted that there was mismatch between production
and the uptake of the product by the energy sector. However, he
did not explain the reasons behind this state of affairs. Information
from the media indicates that slow uptake of the ethanol was due
mainly to the absence of mandatory blending legislation or policy.
Mr. Mbona indicated to the committee that a Cabinet Inter-Ministerial
Taskforce was currently seized with the matter. He also hinted to
the Committee that government preferred a joint venture arrangement
rather than a Build-Operate-Transfer agreement that ARDA entered
into with Ratings, the company behind the ethanol project.
Mr. Mbona was
non-committal to the Committee on the actual details of the agreement
between ARDA and Ratings, saying he was not in a position to discuss
the matter and thus referred the Committee to the ARDA Board. The
Committee resolved to invite the ARDA Board in its next meeting
to discuss the details of the Agreement between ARDA and Ratings,
which the Committee suspected was not done above board. Regarding
the families who were displaced to pave way for the project, Mr.
Mbona told the Committee some of the affected families had been
allocated 0.5 hectares each.
Committee on Health and Child Welfare
of Director Social Amenities, Mr. Chibanda, in the City of Harare
appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare
to brief the Committee on City’s waste management challenges.
He informed the Committee that the Department of Waste Management
was mandated with the collection and disposal of waste, emptying
of septic tanks among other things.
highlighted that the Department was failing to discharge its mandate
effectively due to lack of adequate refuse collection trucks, skip
bins and pole litter bins among other necessary equipment. The Committee
was shocked to hear that the City of Harare currently has a fleet
of 24 refuse collection trucks, the smallest fleet since 1967. He
also raised concern with rampant vandalism of council property especially
informed the Committee that as much as the City Council could alleviate
the shortage of essential equipment by acquiring bank loans, current
regulations stipulate that the City Council has to apply for borrowing
powers from central government. He said this process was very cumbersome
as it took too long for government approve applications for borrowing
powers, resulting in the adverse impact on service delivery.
also heard that the City’s municipal police did not have arresting
powers something which he said made it very difficult for the municipal
police to maintain order in the City and to keep the City clean
in the absence of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), given the
influx of street vendors.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.