THE deal between defunct steel giant Ziscosteel and ZimCoke, has been cancelled with immediate effect, acting Ziscosteel board chair, Engineer Martin Manuhwa, has said.
ZimCoke was set to take over a coke oven within the defunct Ziscosteel in a $255 million deal, which was viewed as the first step towards revitalisation of the steel giant.
ZimCoke is co-owned by former opposition MDC Alliance legislator Eddie Cross who of late has found himself favour within the ruling ZANU PF party.
The two companies signed an agreement of sale in 2017 when ZimCoke bought the coke-making assets of Zisco consisting of the plant and machinery, land and buildings, and associated infrastructure of coal handling and wagons.
But during the tour of the company by the inter-ministerial taskforce committee recently, Eng Manuhwa broke the news that the deal had been cancelled.
“We would like to put in on record that we have cancelled some deals that are not favourable to Zisco’s interests. The ZimCoke deal is one such agreement that has been cancelled and we have since informed our partners in that regard,” said Eng Manuhwa.
He said the investors would, however, be considered in future deals.
“I am sure we are appealing for their co-operation and future co-operation in win-win engagements.
“We are for the integrated steelmaking business with value chains that share the same vision with us,” he said.
The development comes as chair of the inter-ministerial committee and Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, made it clear that Government had no time to entertain non-committed investors.
She said the resuscitation of Ziscosteel was of paramount importance to the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, Eng Manuhwa raised concern over vandalism and theft of Ziscosteel assets.
He appealed to the joint operation command to come in and assist in securing the company’s assets.
“I would like to appeal to JOC to assist us provide security to Ziscosteel’s assets. Unprecedented vandalism and syndicated crimes will surely make the cost of resuscitating Zisco very high. We want to see these syndicates busted and culprits apprehended,” he said.
Minister Nzenza also raised concern over the disappearance of assets and called upon the management to act swiftly in addressing the issue.
“I have no doubt that the new board together with management are prepared to tackle the Ziscosteel strategic issues pertaining to asset stripping, debts, asset register, security, identification of a partner and strategic plan among other various issues. I call upon management to come up with specific measures to curtail loss of assets and debt accumulation,” said Dr Nzenza.