President Emmerson Mnangagwa has claimed that white people caused the collapse of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel).
Addressing a ZANU PF rally in Kwekwe on Saturday ahead of the 26 March by-elections, Mnangagwa claimed that whites sabotaged Ziscosteel from the time Zimbabwe got its independence from Britain in 1980. He said:
For over 20 years, Ziscosteel has been down. At its peak, Ziscosteel used to employ between 6000-7000 and those from the downstream industry.
The company gave iron and steel to the entire region including East Africa and overseas countries.
When we gained independence in 1980 as ZANU PF the whites were very unhappy.
They started to sabotage Ziscosteel until it was brought to its knees.
He, however, did not explain how the whites sabotaged the company.
Mnangagwa said after attempting to bring in a foreign investor, his government decided to engage a local investor to resuscitate Ziscosteel. He said:
We have been looking for external investors to resuscitate Ziscosteel and over US$450 million is needed for the resuscitation.
Ziscosteel is owned by the government which has 89% and other stakeholders have 11%.
We settled for Kuvimba, which is 65% owned by the government and it is going to resuscitate Ziscosteel.
The US$450 million is already available.
A 2006 parliamentary inquiry established that Ziscosteel collapsed due to looting by government ministers and other senior officials.
However, the report is yet to be published.