Businessman and former mayor of Harare Muchadeyi Masunda has backed Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa to put in place a board that will turnaround the fortunes of the listed coal producer.
Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL)’s board is expected to be re-constituted at the end of this month during the company’s annual general meeting.
Masunda said changes to the board are coming at the right time, following the appointment of Thomas Makore as the substantive managing director of HCCL.
“Our Minister of Mines and Mining Development deserves all the support that he can muster to put together a Board of Directors that will work harmoniously with the executive management team,” he said.
“Thomas Makore’s appointment, coupled with the impending reconstitution of the Board of Directors at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting on Monday 30 June 2014, will give HCCL a glorious opportunity of setting a demonstrable precedent of what can and should be done under the auspices of the much-vaunted Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).”
Masunda, a former employee of HCCL, has taken a swipe at some of the current board member whom he said had “no business, skills-wise and otherwise, to be anywhere near the corridors ofpower of a serious coal-mining giant.”
“Needless to say, some of those board members have been hogging the media limelight recently for all the wrong reasons,” said Masunda, also pointing to “lack of harmony between the board of directors and the executive management teams.”
HCCL’s operations remain constrained with the company producing 200 000 tonnes of coal against a target of 450 000 tonnes.
Last month board chairman FaraiMutamangira, in an update to shareholders, announced a raft of measures to turn around the company’s including a staff rationalisationprogramme and unbundling the firm into six strategic business units.
The implementation of these indicated programmes are now most likely dependent on how extensive the board changes during the June 30 AGM will be.
HCCL has also undertaken a recapitalisationprogramme, and Masunda has pointed to key areas that he believes need urgent attention.
“The critical workhorses which require immediate attention at HCCL are the draglines, 100-tonne CAT dump trucks, conveyor belts as well as the drill rigs,” he said.
He added that an effectively functioning HCCL will have a broader positive impact on the economy.
“The trickle-down impact of a colliery which is firing on all cylinders will be positively felt at virtually Zesa’scoal-driven power stations throughout the country: National Railways of Zimbabwe,ZiscoSteel,ZimAlloys,BinduraNickel Corporation, Pretoria Portland Cement, Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe, Sino-Zimbabwe Cement,TongaatHulett’s sugar operations in the Lowveld at Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates as well as the resurgent tobacco industry which uses a lot of coal for flue-curing purposes.”