Hwange board in bid to take over HCCL

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Leonard Ncube Vic­to­ria Falls Re­porter

THE Hwange Lo­cal Board has ap­proached Govern­ment for per­mis­sion to take over the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Hwange Col­liery Com­pany Lim­ited (HCCL) prop­er­ties while the strug­gling coal mine con­cen­trates on min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

If suc­cess­ful, the de­vel­op­ment will see thou­sands of Hwange res­i­dents, most of whom are work­ers and ex-em­ploy­ees in some suburbs ad­min­is­tered and sub­sidised by the mine, pay­ing rates and rentals like ev­ery­one else in the coun­try.

Cash strapped HCCL man­ages its own prop­er­ties such as hous­ing and of­fice in­fra­struc­ture, sport­ing and so­cial ameni­ties de­spite be­ing lo­cated within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Lo­cal Board.

Most of the prop­er­ties are age­ing and not well main­tained while the road in­fra­struc­ture in some suburbs man­aged by the mine is not com­pa­ra­ble with that in Em­pumalanga which is un­der the Lo­cal Board.

Hwange Ward 15 Coun­cil­lor Pius Shumba told Lo­cal Govern­ment, Pub­lic Works and Na­tional Hous­ing Min­is­ter Saviour Ka­sukuwere at the re­cent Lo­cal Govern­ment In­vest­ment Con­fer­ence (Logic) here about the lo­cal author­ity’s plans as he ap­pealed for Govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion fol­low­ing a se­ries of un­fruit­ful en­gage­ments.

“As a lo­cal author­ity we have been en­gag­ing Hwange Col­liery Com­pany so it comes un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Lo­cal Board. It seems we have been fail­ing to un­der­stand each other and we won­der how you can as­sist us,” said Cllr Shumba.

He told The Chron­i­cle on the side­lines of the con­fer­ence that the idea was con­ceived to en­sure HCCL con­cen­trates on min­ing while de­vel­op­men­tal projects and ad­min­is­tra­tion are done by the Lo­cal Board.

“We have had sev­eral meet­ings, the idea be­ing that the mine should con­cen­trate on min­ing and the lo­cal author­ity fo­cuses on ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Cllr Shumba said.

e Col­liery Es­tates man­ages build­ings most of which are rented out for of­fices and houses which the com­pany mostly sub­sidises for its work­ers in terms of rentals, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity.

In re­sponse, Min­is­ter Ka­sukuwere said he would en­gage Min­is­ter Wal­ter Chid­hakwa (Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment) over the is­sue.

He said there would be a need to con­sider the plight of work­ers who are owed salaries for sev­eral months and may not be able to pay rentals.

“Hwange Col­liery hasn’t been do­ing well and that has been dis­cussed in Cab­i­net,” said Min­is­ter Ka­sukuwere.

“The prob­lem how­ever, is that work­ers haven’t been paid for many months and if we do that, will they af­ford? We are go­ing to have a meet­ing with Min­is­ter Chid­hakwa to see if the two can work to­gether”.

The in­au­gu­ral Logic meet­ing was held un­der the theme: “Repo­si­tion­ing ur­ban lo­cal au­thor­i­ties for in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion and so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment” and sought to strate­gise how lo­cal au­thor­i­ties can col­lec­tively at­tract in­vestors and po­si­tion them­selves in the coun­try’s econ­omy. — @ ncubeleon

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