Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
Government is yet to receive any formal communication from the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel) board requesting for the termination of the deal between the once steel giant and ZimCoke.
In an interview, Secretary for Industry and Commerce Dr Mavis Sibanda said contrary to reports that a $225 million deal had been cancelled, the ZimCoke deal was well on course.
The deal, in which ZimCoke is set to take over the Ziscosteel coke ovens, was reportedly terminated on allegations that proper procedures were not followed.
“I just heard about it; I have not yet read about it, I think there are some overzealous people who are behind that,” said Dr Sibanda. “From our end as Government, we are yet to get any report of that nature.
“I cannot comment on things that we are yet to receive any formal report. We can only comment on issues that come to us through formal channels.”
Dr Sibanda said instead of spreading rumours, people should seek to develop the economy.
“Everything we do is for the national interest not for individual glory. People should focus on national development and stop spreading falsehoods,” she said.
ZimCoke board member and chief advisor Mr Eddie Cross maintained that the deal was on.
“I contacted the ministry and they said they were not aware of such a development,” he said. “We are on and I don’t know who is behind this. We are also yet to receive any formal communication to that effect, and as far as we are concerned, the deal is on.”
Ziscosteel board chair Dr Gift Mugano said they had written to Government requesting that the deal be cancelled.
“As you know, this is a long procedure that will require the request to be looked at by the ministry before it is tabled before Cabinet for approval,” he said.
“But, as it stands, we have requested for the deal to be terminated.”
ZimCoke is moving ahead with preparations to take over the coke ovens, with prospects very high that they will start production early next year.
The company has set structures and has since appointed a new nine-member board, as well as a chief executive officer.
More members are expected to be drafted into the board early next year.
The board will be chaired by Mr Nick Ncube, while Mr Dereck Scott, who sits on the board, has been appointed CEO of the coke-making firm.
Other members are Mr Philemon Nhachi, Mrs Emma Fundira, Mr Cross, Mr Michael Moore, Ms Lillian Mbaiwa, Mr Gerald Mlotshwa and Mr Valentine Mushayakarara.