Michael Magoronga Bulawayo Bureau
THE Zisco board and management are set to beef-up security at the company following reports of rampant looting of resources at the defunct iron and steel giant allegedly by former workers and thieves.
Besides former workers who are well acquainted with the plant, machete-wielding goons popularly known as “Mashurugwi”, have not spared the company as they are reportedly threatening to attack security personnel with machetes to gain entry into the plant.
The world’s longest conveyor belt at one time, measuring 15,6 kilometres, was the first to be stripped down by thieves.
Zisco acting board chairman Dr Gift Mugano confirmed the massive looting at the sleeping giant, saying this was retarding revival of the steel manufacturer.
He said former workers were leading and orchestrating the stealing of assets like cables, pipes and the conveyor belt.
“The situation on the ground is that there is looting at the company by some former workers and thieves who are taking away cables and other material from the plant for resale.
“Machete-wielding thieves have targeted the company as they go and threaten the security with machetes before getting inside the company premises and looting resources,” Dr Mugano said.
Going forward, he said management would beef-up security and carry out a forensic audit to account for stolen property.
“We are going to beef up our security to avoid such happenings from being repeated.
“We are going to carry out a forensic audit and an evaluation of assets so that
we account for every asset,” said Dr Mugano.
He said the parent ministry had already been notified about the need for an audit.
“Plans for an audit are at an advanced stage as we have notified the Ministry of Industry and Commerce about it and any time it can be carried out so that we account for every asset,” he said, adding that investigations would be carried out and those found on the wrong side of the law would be prosecuted.
“Yes, we have suspects and investigations are to be carried out and whoever will be found on the wrong side of the law will be prosecuted.”
The Redcliff-based steel plant closed down at the height of hyperinflation in 2008.
Following its closure, Zimbabwe is importing US$400 million worth of steel and its products annually.
In this light, Government has proclaimed the urgent need to invest and develop anchor industries for strategic sectors.
At its peak in the 1990s, the former steel giant employed over 5 000 people.