Good times are set to roll for former workers of the now defunct steel manufacturing giant, Ziscosteel, as they are set to resume receipt of their dues from government starting end of this month after reportedly enduring over eight months without getting a dime, 263Chat Business understands.
Ziscosteel workers are owed salary arrears, pensions and retrenchment packages by the state following the promulgation of the Ziscosteel Debt Assumption Bill in 2017 that spelt that the government had to take over the company’s liabilities.
In an interview on the sidelines of the presentation of the new Ziscosteel board yesterday, Industry and Commerce Minister, Mangaliso Nqobizitha Ndlovu said payments should be starting end of this month.
“As government we have a program of paying the employees amounts owed to them. We have made efforts to assess their state and we made a resolution that we ensure they get their dues so we expect that by end of this month payments will be done,” he said.
Ziscosteet grinded to a halt in 2008 and over 5 000 people lost jobs and plenty more from the downstream industries that heavily relied on the steel manufacturer were casualties, notably Lancashire Steel and Steel Makers among others.
Since then, the former workers whose benefits and salary arrears where not met have struggled to recover their dues.
Payments were reportedly last received in December of last year, and this has plunged thousands of families into extreme poverty.
Government on the other hand has been seized with finding a suitor to resuscitate the company and currently there is an investor said to have pledged US$ 1 billion.
The new Ziscosteel board chaired by Dr Gift Mugano on interim basis is expected to oversee the next four year term with the new investor expected to expedite efforts to ensure the company resume operations soon.
“My expectations are that this new board will embrace corporate governance issues, conclude investments issues on Ziscosteel and also to attend to issues concerning the welfare of the worker,” said the Industry minister.
In 2011, Indian Steel Conglomerate, Essar Global signed a US$ 750 million deal to bring life into the company but due to political bickering at the time, the deal collapsed.