Publication of The Mail, one of the country’s three privately-owned dailies, has been temporarily suspended due to operational challenges four months after hitting the streets.
The newspaper was being published by Fruitlink Ventures (Private) Limited, publishers of the Business Weekly.
In a statement yesterday, managing director Hensley Chamboko said the newspaper had been forced off the streets due to prohibitive printing costs.
Unlike its competitors, the country’s leading daily newspaper NewsDay and Daily News, the only remaining independent dailies, and two State-owned dailies, The Herald and Chronicle — The Mail did not have its own printing press.
“Due to the printing capacity challenges of the industry, the publishers have temporarily suspended the printing of our daily title, The Mail, pending the arrival, installation and commissioning of own equipment sourced from Europe and Asia.
The lead time for receipt, installation and commission is between five to six months,” said Chamboko.
“The board and management have therefore found it prudent to only commence printing thereafter, unless more favourable terms have been received from key service providers.”
The closure has affected over 50 employees who have been forced to go on unpaid leave until after the arrival of the company’s printing press.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has assisted employees to secure legal representation from Matsikidze and Mucheche Commercial and Labour Law Chambers, to ensure the affected workers continue receiving their salaries while on leave.
“There is no need to close the newspaper since the newspaper publishes online,” said ZUJ secretary-general Foster Dongozi on Thursday.
He said if the newspaper management had failed to do its job, ZUJ would have assisted the workers to take up the project in the name of indigenisation and empowerment.
Reports indicated the newspaper failed to pay Strand Printers for printing services rendered and later moved to Zimpapers’ Herald Printers, who demanded $200 000 upfront, which The Mail failed to pay.