Ziscosteel has sent most of its workers home for an extended holiday after Kwekwe City Council disconnected water to the firm’s plant over a $4 million water debt.
The steel-making giant reportedly asked its workers to report for duty after the Easter holidays owing to the water problems.
The disconnection of water supplies has affected the entire Redcliff city as Ziscosteel is the water authority for the area.
“We had to knock off early on Friday after being told to sign forms extending our holidays until after Easter,” said a worker who refused to be named.
Kwekwe mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa confirmed they sealed all water valves supplying Ziscosteel last Friday and would only reconnect supplies when meaningful payments were made.
“Nobody from Essar has bothered to come and talk to us about the ballooning debt and as a local authority we need to service our own debts so we have no option but to stop all water supplies until payments are made,” he said.
The development comes months after the government sealed a deal with Essar Africa Holdings of India to buy the company.
Ziscosteel chief executive officer Alex Gowo refused to discuss the matter arguing it was a sensitive issue.
“As we speak a team has been sent to close the valves which supply Ziscosteel with water. We had only opened the taps after we were told independence celebrations could be affected,” said a council worker.