Workers at the Harare and Masvingo branches queried why they should stop operations if the retooling and refurbishing was at the Bulawayo factory. The workers in Harare and Masvingo also refused to have the premises guarded by “street” security guards- people that were just picked by Boustead Beef “from the nearest location”.
The workers said after four months workers in Bulawayo were told that they were being retrenched and this was being done on behalf of the government through a directive from President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The workers, however, contested the package. The government decided to step in and bring the company under judicial management before some of the workers had been paid off their paltry packages.
According to the workers, Boustead Beef, allegedly:
- lied to have constructed a solar powered Borehole at one of our farms when it actually just repaired a diesel engine that powers the water pump
- lied it had bought solar panels but was renting out storage for Solgas panels.
- said it had bought 35 new refrigeration compressors
- lied on national television that it had imported 2 000 cattle when they belonged to a tenant.
- sold CSC cattle without clearing them and by so doing it sold some cattle that belonged to tenants
- dismantled/destroyed compressors, condensors and boilers at Bulawayo Branch in the name of retooling and eventually sold them as scrap metal to South Africa
- collected all rentals
- sold all hides left in stock
The workers said they were fully behind efforts by the government to revive the CSC. The government has recruited Ngoni Kudenga of BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants as the corporate rescuer.
He has been mandated to:
- to investigate the company’s affairs, business and property and financial situation in terms of Section 134 of the Insolvency Act;
- investigate previous CSC operations and expose the weaknesses within the systems and recommend possible solutions;
- investigate adherence to corporate governance principles and recommend aspects that require strengthening;
- confirm the number and status of the properties and ascertain the status of all CSC assets;
- investigate claims of asset stripping or any other activities and institute measures to stop the asset stripping immediately;
- examine the Scheme of Arrangement and recommend appropriate measures;
- investigate the employment and dismissal of employees from the date the Joint Venture was signed;
- examine and recommend Pension benefits due to the employees;
- examine Boustead Beef (Pvt) Ltd’s current operations (investments made and operational initiatives implemented since the signing of the agreement) and establish whether or not it has capacity to revive CSC and advance the Livestock Growth Plan.
“Once again we plead with the relevant authority to kindly speed up the process as we are sinking deep into poverty as workers and the company is being continuously looted by the bogus investor,” the workers said.