Michael Magoronga, Chronicle Correspondent
REDCLIFF Municipality has received $7 million from Treasury as part of repayment of a $14 million debt accrued by the now defunct Zisco.
The country’s steel manufacturing plant closed down operations in 2008 after it faced operational constraints. The debt accumulated over the years Zisco was operational.
Redcliff Mayor Councillor Clayton Masiyatsva said: “This past week, we received $7million from Treasury as part of the debt we were owed by Zisco. “As you know Government assumed the Zisco debt and we are grateful they have started paying.”
In 2017, the Government assumed all the company’s outstanding arrears under the Zisco Debt Assumption Bill. He said the Government had assured the local authority that the balance would be paid before the end of the year.
“We are hopeful that they will be able to pay the balance by year end as they promised. The money had been long overdue and we are very grateful to Government for the gesture and showing commitment,” said Clr Masiyatsva.
He said the money had boosted their coffers and the local authority has also paid its outstanding water debt to Kwekwe City Council. “This was a timely boost which has boosted our coffers and enabled us to cover pressing issues. “Just today, we have paid $1million to Kwekwe City who are currently supplying us with water. “We hope to continue paying them until we clear the debt,” he said.
Redcliff, which has been relying on Kwekwe City for water supply since the closure of Zisco, has been failing to settle the water debt which was hovering around $3,5million.
Clr Masiyatsva said they have also managed to pay outstanding workers’ salaries and bonuses.
“Using the money, we have also managed to clear some arrears that we had in terms of salaries. We are hoping that by year end we would have cleared the outstanding balances. We have also managed to timeously pay our workers bonuses,” he said.
The local authority has been dogged by viability challenges owing to shrinked cash inflows.
“Since the closure of Zisco, we have been facing cashflow challenges. But we have since recorded an improvement in cash flow from slightly below 50 percent to the current 59 percent. The money is expected to go a long way in covering one or two gaps that have been difficult for the local authority,” said Clr Masiyatsva.