CSC properties vandalised

The eerie silence at the Cold Storage Company premises in Southerton, Harare tells a sad story of one of Zimbabwe’s major parastatals.

A canteen opened by a private caterer  has brought some activity to the premises.
A canteen opened by a private caterer has brought some activity to the premises.

Once a vibrant company with a huge workforce, the CSC Harare plant now resembles a white elephant save for the activities of private companies leasing the place.

A canteen, recently opened by a private caterer for tobacco farmers has brought some activity to the premises, while a fertiliser company uses the far end of one of the buildings. Several trucks, bearing the parastatal’s logo are rusty and have been reduced to shells – stripped of their parts.

Equipment such as trays and racks can be seen lying all over. They are so rusty that even scrap collectors are not interested in them. A vendor, taking a nap in the shade, responded to enquiries by saying: “Why are you concerned? There is no meat here so why should we be told not to use these buildings?”

A few metres away are more than 20 sacks of potato plants – the work of an enterprising urban farmer taking advantage of the land lying idle.

A couple are resting at one of the entrances to the buildings of the CSC. The door to that building is broken down, indicating a possibility that vendors and vagrants are sleeping at the premises after hours.

Vandalised

The CSC once had an annual quota to the European Union of 9,100 tonnes of beef annually and earned the country $45 million every year. Beef exports to the bloc were suspended in August 2001 after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth-disease.

Worsened by the decade long harsh economic environment that saw the closure of a lot of companies, the CSC was affected by the dwindling national herd estimated to be more than six million in 1999.

The Harare branch is not an isolated case. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture responsible for livestock, Paddy Zhanda, last week said government was looking at ways of resuscitating the CSC.

He attributed closures at the CSC’s Masvingo, Marondera and Kadoma plants to failure by government to allocate the ailing parastatal any money when the country dollarised. Zhanda said his ministry had held meetings with the CSC board and government was still consulting to find donors to recapitalise the company.

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