Locals shun Victoria Falls tram company bid
LIQUIDATED Victoria Falls Steam Train Company only attracted three bids averaging between R1 million and R1.3 million for its tram and coach which are being auctioned.
The company’s assets were put under the hammer to cover debts amounting to close to $1 million, in a development likely to badly affect tourism.
The liquidator, Mr Winsley Militala of Petwin Executor and Trust Company, said all the bids were from South Africa as there were no takers locally.
“Bids closed on September 8, 2016, and we received two for the tram as well as one bid for the stage coaches,” said Mr Militala.
He said his company was in the process of verifying the bids before the winning bidder can be announced.
“The bids are being verified. Of the bids received, none were received locally as all were from South Africa. The bids received averaged between R1 million and R1.3 million,” he said.
Mr Militala said the company has total liabilities of $837 261 against non-current assets of $294 900.
The company was registered in 2000 to operate, market and sell excursions on historical trains and trams in Victoria Falls. It has, however, been struggling since 2014 when its tram was involved in a collision with a National Railways of Zimbabwe train. One tourist died while 20 others were injured.
“The business operated well until the time a tram was involved in a collision with an NRZ train and that, coupled with the pullout of the investor-Batoka Hospitality— precipitated the collapse of the company as the investor now demanded a repayment of a loan amount in excess of $250 000,” said Mr Militala.
He said since Victoria Falls Steam Train Company was practically insolvent due to non-operations of its damaged tram, the directors saw it fit to apply for voluntary liquidation by special resolution.
Mr Phillip Charles Steel, who is the major shareholder with 70 percent shares, is the director of the company. The other shareholders are Mrs Sheelah Alexandra Bell (10 percent), Michael Napier Clinton (10 percent) while David James Simpson and William Ingram Davis each have five percent. Going into liquidation, the company had already ceased operations.
The tram was used to carry out occasional runs with tourists to the Victoria Falls Bridge. The open-sided tram is a modern built replica of a classic 1890s model and accommodates about 30 passengers.
Once tourists are on board, the tram begins its gentle 20 minute ride down to the Victoria Falls Bridge past the Victoria Falls Rainforest. — @ncubeleon
were receiving food aid including those at Chingwizi resettlement.
“The reports on villagers in Ward 2 eating baboons because of drought are unfounded. I made my investigation and found no clue on the story. I saw the story in one of the local papers but they are all falsehoods. Ironically Ward 2 is over subscribed as there is government , Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and Mwenezi Development Training Centre providing food aid,” she said.
She said the food for work programme was in full swing in all wards where families receive 50 kg of maize after working for 60 hours monthly in gulley filling or road maintenance.
“I can safely say no one is starving in Mwenezi. The baboon story is a hoax,” she said. — @walterbmswazie2.