State media “being fed bottled smoke” by Boustead Beef


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The scheme to lease Cold Storage Company ranches to deserving and well-resourced cattle producers was started by the CSC well before Boustead Beef came onto the scene, a former CSC management employee said.

He was responding to a story in the State-owned media last week that CSC-Boustead Beef had adopted a new business model where it was engaging partners to run some of its cattle ranches on a long term basis as part of efforts to build the national herd and revive the CSC.

According to the Herald, under the new model, CSC-Boustead would now largely focus on meat processing at its slaughterhouses while the cattle ranching would be done by its partners.

The paper quoted Reggie Shoko, Boustead-CSC consultant, as saying that the new business model would “quicken” revival of the CSC.

“We are moving away from the old business model where CSC was involved in almost every aspect along the value chain. That model had its own inefficiencies. So instead of keeping the animals, we are doing these partnerships where someone produces the cattle for us and we are the off takers,” Shoko was quoted as saying.

The story cited Dubane ranch as one of those being run under the new model.

Boustead Beef entered into an agreement to revive the CSC in 2019 but failed to do so resulting in the government seeking a corporate rescue practitioner last year to revive the company which was once one of the biggest meat processors in the country.

Although it had entered into a 25-year agreement with the government as an investor, Boustead Beef filed a claim as a creditor saying it was owed $3.5 billion by the CSC.

It also succeeded, with the help of some creditors, to get Ngoni Kudenga who had been appointed the rescue practitioner to be disqualified because of his alleged business links with Lands Minister Anxious Masuka.

Bulawayo lawyer Vonani Majoko was appointed the rescue practitioner, instead, though CSC current and former workers as well as the government went to court to contest the appointment of Majoko saying the meeting that disqualified Kudenga was not properly constituted.

Shoko has announced several projects since the appointment of Majoko that Boustead Beef is reportedly undertaking to revive the CSC, but former workers say the State media is being taken for a ride.

“Yes, he is busy bottling old wine in new wineskins,” a former management employee said, referring to the story where Shoko had said Boustead Beef had started the new model.

“We came up with that model way before Boustead came on board, where we gave deserving and resourced cattle producers long term leases at idle ranches.

“We put Triangle Tongaat Hullet at Chivumburu ranch in Chiredzi, Trek at Maphaneni Kezi and some guys at Dubane. Boustead simply inherited the leases where the long lease tenants would pay through progeny heifers and CSC would have the right of first refusal for ready slaughter cattle.

“Whoever is writing these puff articles is either being fed bottled smoke or is being paid handsomely to do so,” the former employee said.

 

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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