By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
24 February 2014
The Cold Storage Commission (CSC), once the leading meat supplier in Zimbabwe, is facing collapse due to mismanagement and corruption, the Herald reported Monday.
According to the report the CSC is left with only 600 cattle at its nine farms across the country. The report attributed the decline at the parastatal to mismanagement, corruption and lack of innovation to compete with private meat suppliers.
This development comes at a time when parastatals are in the spotlight due to numerous allegations of graft, with reports that some executives were earning ‘corrupt salaries’ running up to as much as half a million dollars a month.
The report said the state of the CSC’s Chinhoyi branch provides a glimpse into the extent of the company’s decline. Once manned by a workforce of 500 people the depot now struggles to pay its staff of 65. Moreover, CSC Chinhoyi no longer has beasts of its own but operates on a ‘service slaughter’ basis. This is when customers bring in their beasts and pay the CSC to slaughter them at its abattoir.
The depot slaughters about 300 beasts a month at a cost of $25 each. This means that the depot is only able to realize $7,500 a month from this service. CSC also sells hides for $22 each which adds an extra $6,600. All in all, the depot has a revenue of $14,000 per month leaving the company struggling to run smoothly, the Herald said.
The depot is reeling under a huge debt as it owes the Chinhoyi Municipality and other service providers, like Zesa, Zimra and NSSA, ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars.’ Electricity and water supplies have since been disconnected, forcing the depot to rely on a generator and a borehole.
Bulawayo Agenda Executive director, Thabani Nyoni said the situation at the Chinhoyi depot was ‘not an isolated case’. Nyoni said a recent tour of the CSC Bulawayo depot revealed that the company as a whole needs ‘total revamping.’
Nyoni said: ‘The infrastructure is dilapidated; the equipment is rusty and looks like it was erected decades ago. The company has downscaled a number of its core activities and the management have never accounted.’
Nyoni said the company can only be saved if it is privatized and the management are hired transparently. ‘Cash injection alone will not serve CSC; we need total accountability,’ said Nyoni.