Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
THE Cold Storage Company (CSC) is set to resume operations in Masvingo amid reports that tenants occupying company premises have since been served with three months notices to leave.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister of State, Ezra Chadzamira, said this as he expressed confidence that the giant firm would be successfully transformed after Government finalised a mega deal with a United Kingdom investor.
Cabinet recently approved a US$400 million joint venture deal between CSC and Bousted Beef (Pvt) Ltd.
The facility will be spread over the next three years and is expected to see the resumption of operations at CSC branches in Masvingo, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi and Marondera.
The minister confirmed that all tenants occupying the company buildings have been told to leave and that most of them had since sought alternative accommodation.
“The contract has been signed between CSC and the investor, Bousted Beef (Pvt) Ltd and before the end of the year operations would resume,” said Minister Chadzamira.
He said a skeletal staff would be recruited soon for the purposes of maintenance of machinery while more than 600 employees are expected to get back their jobs.
“So far most tenants have left the company buildings.
“We are happy that the meat giant is going to retain its workforce and hire new ones.
“We expect at least 600 employees to be working at the local plant in the next six months while a few would first be hired for maintenance of the machinery before full operations,” he said.
Minister Chadzamira said the resumption of operations at the mothballed company will contribute significantly to the province’s economy in line with the devolution mantra.
“This is good news for Masvingo and it will add value to our efforts to achieve US$5,8 billion GDP by 2030. We look forward to have more companies re-opening,” he said.
CSC has also reversed a decision to give Masvingo City Council a piece of land to establish a dumpsite on its farm as it seeks to resume its cattle ranching business.
Sugar giant, Tongaat Hullet has also offered more than 2 000 cattle for slaughter while small holder farmers have also expressed interest to support the company.
At its peak CSC Masvingo used to slaughter about 300 cattle per day and exported beef products to the European Union, earning the much needed foreign currency.
The revival of the country’s biggest meat processor and marketer, which had been under-operating for the past two decades, affirms Government commitment to revive the industry and the economy at large.
The latest development resonates well with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra as more investors line up to exploit opportunities in the country.
The UK investor has also offered to take over the company debt amounting to more than US$100 million, which originated from outstanding salaries for workers among other obligations.
Bousted Beef is bankrolled by a number of investors from the United Kingdom, America, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Australia.
The company also plans to set up a state-of-the-art information and technology system costing about US$3 million for the whole beef processing chain.