Essar Africa Holdings will appoint a new board in the next few weeks at New Zim Steel (formerly Ziscosteel) as it begins to make moves to restart the giant steel-making firm that ceased operating two years ago.
The new management will have to deal with challenges facing its subsidiaries outside the country some of which have since collapsed.
Addressing a Press conference in Redcliff on Wednesday, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube said the new board would replace the one led by Nyasha Makuvise.
“Now that the ceremony is done, we will sit down and agree on the time frames. The management at New Zim Steel will be accountable to the board,” said Ncube.
“It’s a matter of weeks before we come up with a structure. It will be one of the first things that will happen.”
Officially launching New Zim Steel and New Zim Minerals, President Robert Mugabe took a swipe at successive management of Ziscosteel for neglecting the plant leading to its dysfunctional state.
“What disappoints us as a leadership are some of our people to whom we entrust the fate of our enterprise, plants or organisation. They sometimes disappoint not just us, but the nation as whole,” said President Mugabe.
There was no reason why those in charge had to let Zisco get into the situation into which it is. They should have managed to save structures and keep them alive to ensure that they were not dying and rotting.
“We may fail because of lack of inputs, but what we must not do is to destroy them. The situation makes us quite angry, leaving machinery to die.
Essar are beginning a new plant, building anew, getting new parts, it’s a Rennaissance.”
Ncube said of the three subsidiaries in Botswana, South Africa and Zambia only the latter one presented a real opportunity.
“Many of the subsidiaries collapsed, the Botswana one was liquidated. Zambia operations are still in existence, but face various court cases, claims by employees that have to be dealt with,” said Ncube.
“The new board will look at it and see how to resolve it. In South Africa there is nothing taking place, it’s just a property,” he said.
Indian conglomerate Essar plans to spend up to $4 billion constructing a plant to process iron ore from the country’s Mwanesi resource within the next five years.