Zesa disconnets CSC-Boustead Beef over US$27K debt

Power utility ZESA Holdings.

POWER utility Zesa Holdings last week disconnected power to the CSC-Boustead Beef Bulawayo abattoir over a $24 million bill, which translates to US$24 000 on the black market or US$27 220 at the official rate.

The developments came amid indications by the company it was being burdened by over 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating at the premises, as they  have not been paying for electricity for too long.

CSC-Boustead Beef consultant Regional Shoko yesterday confirmed the disconnection and blamed it on the SMEs operating within the premises, saying they have not been paying bills, prompting the huge power debt.

“We had a problem with over 100 SMEs operating in the premises as we are using one meter. They have not been paying. I had to apply to Zesa for separation from them, so we agreed that Zesa should disconnect considering that we are at break point, farmers are yet to make supplies. So we said in the meantime, Zesa can disconnect us to allow the process of separation,” Shoko said.

“Come Tuesday, Wednesday, we hope this will have been sorted. If we disconnected them ourselves, we would spark a lot of noise, so we agreed to have Zesa do it so that we separate from them. We have been paying part of the bill and because SMEs are not paying, we have been accumulating a bill with penalties. So we realise it does not make business sense for us to remain charged using one meter with the SMEs.”

Boustead Beef entered into an agreement with government to revive the Cold Storage Company in 2019, but failed to provide proof that it had US$130 million for capital expenditure and working capital for the first five years.

Indications are that the company also failed to invest US$45 million in the first year as per the agreement.

Government placed the CSC under corporate rescue in December 2020 after realising that Boustead Beef had failed to fulfil its part of the agreement.

Boustead Beef, however, remained mainly at the Bulawayo abattoir, claiming it had refurbished the plant and invited Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to officially reopen the factory in August last year.

The company claimed at the re-opening that it had also secured US$36 million for a feedlot and grazing purchase scheme for communal farmers.


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