By William Milasi
A coking company ZimCoke is set to inject $5 million to redress Midlands’ town Redcliff’s perennial water woes.
Redcliff Mayor Councillor Clayton Masiyatsva told residents at a budget consultative meeting Monday that ZimCoke was going to inject money into the financially hamstrung council.
A $133 million investment, ZimCoke, premised within Ziscosteel as part of its corporate social responsibility pledged to assist in redressing Redcliff’s water challenges.
The coking firm which is set to commence production early next year has since assumed a $225 debt that the government of Zimbabwe owes to German Development Bank (KFW).
“Whilst we are looking for a sustainable solution to address our water challenges we have been in talks with ZimCoke which have pledged to assist us.
“As part of their corporate social responsibility the company has pledged to inject $5 million to help in addressing our water challenges,” said Masiyatsva.
Zimcoke and Zisco signed an agreement of sale in 2017 where ZimCoke bought the coke making assets of Zisco.
Recently, Redcliff resolved to abandon a $15 million deal reached with a Hungarian investor which was aimed at alleviating water shortages in the former steel works producing town.
The town would have secured low cost piped water from Cactus Poorte Dam located about 3 km from the town.
A non water authority Redcliff is getting water from nearby Kwekwe.
Redcliff owes Kwekwe an excess of $3 million.
The local authority’s finance committee chairperson Nyasha Benza said the local council’s operational challenges are caused by the Ziscosteel debt.
“Ziscosteel debt which is $16, 4 million and engagements are being don e with respective stakeholders to recover this debt as a total-write off would render the Council technically insolvent as creditors would exceed debtors/.
“Council has since written to the parent ministry seeking its intervention that we are paid in cash or Treasury Bills against $14, 7 million debts to Council following the Ziscosteel (Debt Assumption Bill),” she said.
60% of Redcliff’s council rates comes from Ziscosteel while 15% from Zisco employees.