Hwange board in bid to take over HCCL
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