UNIFORMED members of the Zimbabwe National Army have been roped in to provide security at the dormant Redcliff-based New Zimsteel (formerly Ziscosteel) in an effort to curb the looting of company assets and illegal “mining” of coke fines.
Councillor Clayton Masiyatsva told NewsDay over the weekend that the steel manufacturer hired soldiers following a spate of thefts at the plant.
“The soldiers have been here for the past two weeks and upon asking we were told that they were put there to stop theft of coke fines from the dump site and also theft from the main plant by workers and other people who were pretending to mine for coke fines,” said Masiyatsva.
Ex-Ziscosteel workers who have gone unpaid over the past two years have resorted to scavenging for coke fines and breeze at the firm’s dump site for resale.
“Ziscosteel has now put a stop to that after putting soldiers to guard that area, but these uniformed man are indiscriminately assaulting passersby at night and sometimes during the day,” said Masiyatsva.
A resident, Tonderai Maseru said the soldiers and residents were now involved in a cat and mouse game at the mine dump site.
“We will not stop mining the coke fines because they are the only source of livelihood for us here and therefore giving up is like a death sentence, so we will run after each other until someone gives up,” said Maseru.
Attempts to get comment from New Zimsteel chief executive officer Alois Gowo were fruitless as he was reported to be attending business meetings in Harare.