KWEKWE — Council is up in arms against New Zimsteel (formerly Ziscosteel) over a $7 million debt for water supplies, which has accumulated since the introduction of the multi-currency system in 2009.
City engineer John Mhike told a full council meeting recently that his department had since disconnected water supplies to the steel company to force the company to pay.
“We have not been receiving any payments from New Zimsteel for a long time now and as a last resort we have cut water supplies until they pay us,” Mhike said last week.
Finance chairperson councillor Queenly Chitopo told NewsDay huge debts owed by consumers had begun to affect council operations.
“We are facing a serious crisis owing to that debt.
“For instance, Zesa is taking us to court over a $3 million debt. We are struggling to buy water treatment chemicals among other challenges and we therefore have no option, but to close our water valves until they pay us,” said Chitopo.
The water cut has affected the entire Redcliff community as it shares the same pipes with New Zimsteel.
But Kwekwe mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa yesterday said his council had reconnected New Zimsteel to allow Redcliff residents access to water during the festive season, but would cut supplies after the holidays.
“We are human, so we reconnected them to ensure that they get water over the holidays. Soon after that we are closing the valves,” Tobaiwa said.
In an earlier interview, new major shareholder Essar Africa resident director Firdhose Coovadia, said the issue of debts owed by Ziscosteel which will be transferred to New Zimsteel will be dealt with by the company’s board.
“Once the board is in place they will come up with ways of dealing with the debts owed by Ziscosteel, for instance how salaries and wages owed to employees will be paid,” he said.