via Ziscosteel disputes $2m debt – Southern Eye 25 February 2014 by Blessed Mhlanga
TROUBLED Ziscosteel and the Redcliff City Council are haggling over a debt nearing $2,6 million the former steel giant reportedly owes the local authority, it has been established.
According to a latest financial report by the local authority, Ziscosteel owes it $2,573 million in unpaid rentals, licences and taxes. But the beleaguered firm disputes the debt.
Finance committee chairperson Clayton Masiyatsva confirmed that council had now engaged management at the company with the view of settling the dispute.
“We have since engaged the company and we are in talks to clarify what they are disputing from our bill, they have not told us their figure and as a result we cannot give further details into the matter,” said Masiyatsva.
The iron and steel making company is tethering on the verge of collapse owing to huge debts, plant and machinery breakdown which has stalled production while the much heralded $750 million takeover bid by Essar Holdings hangs in the balance.
Ziscosteel also owes Kwekwe City Council over $10 million in unpaid water bills, a debt said to be now threatening basic service delivery in the city.
Redcliff, which by end of November last year was owed $7,06 million, is struggling to pay its workers as well as carry out basic maintenance work resulting in huge loses especially due to burst pipes.
According to the February 3, report council lost 345 722 million kilolitres of treated water in two months compared to 700 000 million kilolitres of water which the local authority was billed by Kwekwe City council.
Deputy Mayor Vincent Masiiwa said this problem will end once the African Development Bank releases $21 million to rehabilitate the water and sewer reticulation system and save council money.
“We are losing money especially with the water account which is taking most of the money out of council and therefore repairs and replacements become critical,” he said.