Troubled meat processor, Cold Storage Company (CSC), has taken delivery of the first batch of equipment from the United Kingdom needed to refurbish the Bulawayo plant, Business Times can report.
CSC corporate rescue practitioner Vonani Majoko said refurbishment of the plant is expected to take three weeks.
“This is equipment that is necessary to make sure the cold rooms are up and running. I was not around when the equipment arrived but I can confirm that CSC received new equipment from the United Kingdom aimed at reviving the Bulawayo plant,” Majoko said.
It is also understood that the CSC Dubane cattle ranch has since been refurbished and now carries a herd of over 4000. Some parts of the Maphaneni Ranch in Kezi have been refurbished as well.
In 2019, a United Kingdom investor, Boustead Beef, entered into a 25-year joint venture agreement with the Government under a US$400m deal.
However, the deal was hanging in the balance largely due to corruption rocking the State-owned entity, which was once a major foreign currency earner for the country.
Business Times first reported early this year that former employees of the State-owned company had maintained grip on the company’s assets and operations despite the coming in of Boustead Beef Zimbabwe.
Boustead was also denied access at the premises of CSC Harare and Masvingo depots by a cartel of former employees who are said to be enjoying the protection of Ministry top brass.
There were about 50 companies leasing the CSC Harare depot facilities.
But, only three companies were remitting rentals to Boustead Beef and CSC while the majority were remitting rentals to ex-CSC employees who are controlling the assets.
Part of Harare depot facilities have since been subdivided to small warehouses and SMEs shops.
The cartel of former employees have further assigned their proxies and representatives to man the premises and make sure the new investor is denied access to the premises and all the important information.
This saw them locking doors on facilities that are housing critical material and information including cold rooms.
Boustead Beef Zimbabwe is being financed by various investors from the United Kingdom, America, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Australia, all having shareholding in the business.
CSC’s Bulawayo complex is the largest meat slaughtering facility in Africa and trails only Botswana Meat Commission in terms of the latest technologies.
The company has set sights on purchasing a huge fleet of trucks for the collection of cattle as well as refrigerated trucks to ferry carcasses for exports.