Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter
All the six new free to air private television stations that were issued with broadcasting licences have got a statutory 18 months within which to go on air, legislators heard yesterday.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Government was optimistic that all the six would be able to take off.
She said this yesterday while responding to questions from backbenchers in the National Assembly.
Matabeleland South MP, Ms Sipho Mokone (MDC-T) wanted to know why the six television stations had not rolled out.
Minister Mutsvangwa said rolling out of television stations was something the Government was seized with as it sought to expand the broadcasting industry. She said the six firms were licensed by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, a statutory body mandated to discharge those duties.
“We have no doubt as a Ministry that within the time frame of 18 months, which is the deadline, they will go live. They have 18 months within which to put their things together,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN), a subsidiary of diversified media group Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd, was one of the channels awarded a free-to-air television licence.
The other five are Rusununguko Media (Pvt) Ltd — trading as NRTV, Jester Media trading as 3K TV, Acacia Media Group — trading as Kumba TV, Fairtalk Communications (Ke Yona TV) and Channel Dzimbahwe trading as Channel D.
Of the 14 companies that applied for television licences, six were awarded licences after public hearings conducted last month in line with requirements of the 2013 Constitution, with the main cause of failure being a finding of inability to meet requirements after a rigorous verification process to establish the capacity of applications.
The move is expected to end a long held monopoly enjoyed by the State-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
The move effectively frees the airwaves with private television stations joining ZBC-TV as the Second Republic implements a raft of political, economic and social reforms to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030.
On another matter, Mines and Mining Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura said Government will only know how many people will be relocated with respect to the Chinese global steel investor, Tsingshan’s project in Manhize in Mvuma.
Deputy Minister Kambamura said the firm was currently carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment to determine issues such as how many families would be relocated to pave way for the project which he described as a milestone on the continent.
He said work on the multi-billion-dollar carbon steel project in Chivhu, the Manhize Project by Tsingshan had started. Afrochine is Tsingshan’s parent company.
The project lies along the Manhize mountain range and at full production, is expected to be a billion-dollar firm that will boost export earnings and contribute to the US$12 billion mining sector.