Acting President slams property auctions

Acting President Mphoko

Acting President Mphoko

Bulawayo Bureau
ACTING President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday described as “criminal” the wave of business property auctions in Bulawayo and other parts of the country, saying this was a deliberate ploy to frustrate economic growth.

The demise of Bulawayo industries, he said, was largely engineered by corrupt individuals who connived with errant judicial officers to strip companies and attached their properties, which they proceeded to sell for a song.

Responding to concerns over the slow pace of revitalising the city’s industry during a briefing at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex yesterday, the Acting President also challenged the business community to play their part saying “not everything could be blamed on the Government”.

“We all have a task to do and we can’t allow Bulawayo to collapse,” he told ministers, MPs, top government officials and business executives.

“Bulawayo problems are mainly a result of corrupt tendencies. We’ve people who connive with the Sheriff and the lawyers to attach business properties, which they sell for a song. That’s criminal! There’s a lot we can do in this city but some people are just crooks.

“It’s possible to turn the economy of this city around because the necessary infrastructure is still there. So, let’s work together to bring transformation and return Bulawayo to what it was.”

Dozens of companies including State enterprises such as the Cold Storage Company (CSC) and Hwange Colliery Company Limited have lost properties and equipment through auctions over debts to various creditors.

Some of the affected companies have suffered total collapse, with surviving ones struggling to keep afloat.

Lobby groups and unions have partly blamed the development for loss of jobs as they urged adoption of a moratorium to protect company assets.

“It’s a pity Bulawayo people have kept quiet and let thieves take away and sell your properties.

“The MPs that are here must work hard and see this as a challenge. You shouldn’t go to Parliament for prestige and just to get cars. It’s a service to the people,” said the Acting President.

He reiterated that Bulawayo was a strategic economic city with a proud history of a robust manufacturing industry that should be urgently revived.

A businessman in his own right, Acting President Mphoko urged entrepreneurs to come up with viable business proposals and pledged Government support in securing funding through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

“The RBZ governor (Dr John Mangudya) is a good man. He has plans to assist us. There’s much more we can do and we only need to avail bankable projects in seeking funding,” he added.

Bulawayo Provincial Minister of State Cde Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo made a presentation highlighting the city’s diverse challenges covering low industrial activity, unemployment, accommodation shortages, service delivery and challenges in accessing funding.

The Minister of State in Vice President Mphoko’s Office, Cde Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga, Members of the House of Assembly and top Government administrators attended the briefing.

The Acting President later toured the city’s companies where he was appraised about the state of industry, the challenges and opportunities.

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  • Dr Amai

    Government must immediately revisit the laws that constitute the sheriff’s office within the Judiciary because this corrupt practice as the VP has raised is affecting companies but let me hasten to say that it is also affecting individuals who are losing assets through premature, ambushing and swift sheriff action even where debtor has not been notified on time to attend to debt. The commercialisation of the courts services when courts were removed from Ministry of Justice is the prime cause for this development that government is now crying foul, the way the Judiciary is operating is like private company making a profit. The more they put debtors on corner the more they make money as the Commission company for their luxury cars

    • Development Proponent

      I tend to agree with you to some extent. Yes, debtors must pay. However, there are currently lots of loopholes that need to be plugged. The Sheriffs office has gone commercial and is ignoring rational thinking. They are even ignoring the statutes and in the process prejudicing debtors. They are paid huge amounts by the judgement creditor and also seek to be paid an equally huge amount by the judgement debtor. They attach property even after arrangements have been made between creditor and debtor. They cause debtors to incur transport charges and storage fees upon removal. This is tantamount to impoverishing the already disadvantaged debtors. The government has to look into this. In fact banks and loan sharks are milking people and the judiciary / executive is supporting this daylight robbery.

  • sambiri

    Slam, mega deals, flop, protect independence legacy , jobs and economy growth, curb corruption, no going back on land , sanctions, my people, look east policy, is there any other word Zanu hasn’t used trying to stop the sinking titanic?

  • Mashoko Makukutu

    VP kana kambani yakona kubhadhara zvikwereti vakwereta vacho hino vodini?

  • Simbai

    Ironic VP Mphoko is demanding the people and their MPs to be vocal about problems affecting jobs and industry, but when the people use their rights to freely demonstrate the Police invariably ignore the Constitution and disrupt their meetings and rallies. While MPs wishing to represent concerns of their constituencies in Parliament have the Speaker ignore and block their motions for debate, and even Zanu-PF MPs have been muzzled from asking awkward questions to their ignorant and non-performing comrade Ministers responsible for providing the correct environment and conditions favourable to business and industrial success.

    • mthulisi

      I will respect the VP when he cancels him 1 year hotel stay at Rainbow Towers presidential suite

  • Dr Phophet Mudede (PHD UZ)

    What Economic growth when companies are being forced to close on 1 April

  • Mukango weToki

    The VP wants to protect defaulters. He wants to kill the financial sector while talking politics. I wonder how many of his cronies borrow, or rather take, as they have no intention to restitute. Nxaaa

  • Tsotso

    Ayika, ko Inga comrade Zhuwawo vati vari kutora maassets emadirectors wani? Zvino ihurumende rudzii mumwe arikutaura zvino mumwewo izvo?? Inga ijambanja pahotera chaiyo.

    • Department 6

      VP varikuimba from the wrong song book

  • Patriot

    Ok so how should a creditor recover his or her money ? Thats what the courts and Sheriff are for.

  • Chief Legal Adviser

    I am by no means impressed by the VP`s comments , assuming he was correctly reported. He needs to understand how the economic system works ,the role of financiers, and the need to honour loan obligations. What will happen when many powerful personalities are arraigned to pay their huge arrears ZESA bills? Will he blame ZESA and law courts. Come on ,Acting President ,we need some lucidity in government attitude towards defaulters. Nyika haibudirire nokutiza zvikwereti. I hope his Choppers is not chopping debts also.

  • haiwawo

    Inga muhondo kwaiimbwa kuti “bhadharai zvamunotenga nenzira dzakanaka; mudzorere zvinhu zvese zvemunenge matora” because everyone has known in our culture that when you borrow, you make good on your debt.

    But, it is not shocking because it is the new ZANU PF way of conveniently forgetting principle – just like with most of those principles from struggle days – for personal and political expediency

    • Junior

      The loss of economic growth and development loss falls at feet of government’s. People are struggling and more 50% of population is no longer in zimbabwe. Job losses high wage cuts. Yes rents must be paid by month end 250. 340. 380.450 on an income now 450 with lost income worth 560 less.
      Every one below government’s is struggling to survive at worst. settling in well causing food economic downturn.
      Government’s has no solution workable . More the 1,000 business has closed up shop in zimbabwe

  • The Corrector

    Zimbabweans you do this at your peril. When a VP has noticed some irregularities and highlights them, he needs to be applauded because if he doesn’t we will be complaining. Yes, properties can be attached where there is default. But this must only be a last resort measure. In some Western countries it’s not easy for a property to be auctioned. A lot must be attempted before closing up and selling properties. The VP has also higlighted underhand dealings by the sheriffs, the lawyers and even the courts to prey on loopholes. No one supports non servicing of loan obligations but why pretend that we do not know of the corruption which the VP is alluding to. You already know that there are some individuals who, no matter their defaults, will never see the sherrif on their gates while some have no remedy or any plan to allow them to recover and repay. Bulawayo people, let’s support the VP in this initiative because unemployment results from such practices. All we should say is that the VP must not end there but put up a committee that makes urgent recommendations for a solution which does not prejudice lenders but also does not extinguish the trader but must be good for both because at this rate, even the lender will remain without anyone to lend to after all businesses and individuals are rendered unoperational.

    • Chief Legal Adviser

      Apart from just attempting to keep sheriffs from our gates , lets be realistic about getting loans in this harsh environment. We must not expect donors rescue or legal kid gloves.Some debtors are careless ,while driving expensive vehicles at the expense of the lenders. The lenders cannot be expected to bear the full blunt of our economic ills.

  • Matsimba

    I will take the middle of the road policy on this one. In principle the law should serve the people and not vice versa. The VP is alluding to corrupt tendencies within the Sheriff’s office, and if that’s true then surely the law is conveniently used to commit injustice and impoverishing citizens. Zimbabweans will recall the case of Lobels, wherein creditors were willing and eager to pursue asset striping and sell them. Reason prevailed and mechanisms of resuscitating the company were later implemented, and today the company is providing bread for families. So before we rush to sell or auction assets, even assets which may be required in future, let’s pose for a minute or so and ponder on the implications of our course of action. The other side of the issue is that debt markets rely on enforcement of contracts, and creditors can only advance credit if convinced that upon maturity of the instrument then debtors will honour, failure at which recourse will be sought from the Sheriff. If that mechanism is disrupted credit will dry up instantaneously. There is also a possibility of doing away with the current credit advancement system and perhaps adopt the Germanic, Arabic, Japanese and even Venture capitalist (USA) models where the viability of the project is the main issue in advancing credit and where the creditor takes keen interest in the operations of investee company by actually sitting on the board. The current banking system subsisting in Zimbabwe, originating from the Anglo-Saxon world is premised on liquidating collateral regardless of whether it’s unreasonable, cruel and out right madness.

    • Chief Legal Adviser

      Surely ,if our Honourable VP has evidence of an illegalities in debt collecting he should not only preach only,but enforce the law. Other wise he must balance the interests of all stakeholders . not debtors only.

      • sambiri

        The VP thinks that what they did with NPLs should be extended to business and the few individuals calling themselves CHEFs and the connected should be let free. The loans advanced either by banks are depositors’ sacrifice and should not left to benefit the debtor living lavishly in northern suburbs and presidential suite like him. Why do you want to protect the debtor and not take care of the creditor, anyone who is a serious debtor will make an effort for restitution to the creditor even in small amounts rather the current scenario where the VP talks imaginer y. Borrowers need to be responsible,