The closure of the CSC-Boustead Beef Bulawayo abattoir last week for failing to pay its electricity bill was a slap in the face for Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga as he vowed that the CSC would never collapse again when he officially reopened the plant in August last year.
Power was cut off on Monday after the company failed to pay its electricity bill of about $24 million which translates to only US$24 000 or US$27 220 at the official rate, yet Boustead Beef claimed that it had invested US$24 million into the plant.
Boustead Beef, which said it was a British investor, entered into an agreement with the government to revive the Cold Storage Company in 2019 but failed to provide proof that it had the US$130 million for capital expenditure and working capital for the first five years.
The company also failed to invest US$45 million in the first year as per agreement.
The government placed the CSC under corporate rescue in December 2020 after realising that Boustead Beef had failed to fulfil its part of the agreement but Boustead Beef remained mainly at the Bulawayo abattoir and claimed that it had refurbished the plant and invited Chiwenga to officially reopen the factory in August last year.
The company claimed at the re-opening that it had invested US$24 million and planned to slaughter 1 500 beasts per day.
The company also claimed that it had secured US$36 million for a feedlot and grazing purchase scheme for communal farmers.
CSC workers said they could not understand why Chiwenga and the State media swallowed the lies from Boustead Beef as there was no way it could have invested US$24 million in the plant as the cold rooms were not working.
The company had actually cannibalised some parts from the canning plant to refurbish the plant so that it could resume operations.
Continued next page