Steel plant progress excites community … Villagers happy with relocation, development

03 Feb, 2023 - 00:02 0 Views
Steel plant progress excites community … Villagers happy with relocation, development Construction of the Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) in Manhize, Chirumhanzu District in the Midlands Province

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief

IT’S around 2PM and dark clouds pregnant with rain hang across the sky in the Manhize area in Chirumhanzu District, Midlands Province.

There, Ms Memory Maredza (25) is busy preparing her garden where she intends to grow potatoes.

Behind her is a cream three-roomed house with a blue roof. Adjacent to the house is a separate rondavel kitchen, two separate toilets and a bathroom.

There is also a wooden cabin that she uses to store her tools such as shovels and picks.

The buildings are on an acre of land but later, this reporter is told that she actually has 4 acres at her disposal to grow her crops.

Ms Maredza, who is in a polygamous marriage, proudly shows this reporter her property which she said was provided by Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco).

Disco is a subsidiary of Tsingshan Holdings, the world’s largest stainless steel producer which is building Africa’s biggest integrated steel plant, whose first blast furnace is expected to be switched on in September next year.

The steel plant was commissioned by President Mnangagwa, paving way for construction works that started last year.
The US$1 billion project is envisaged to have a positive multiplier effect on the economy, which will be felt in both upstream and downstream industries.

The plant is expected to produce 1,2 million tonnes of steel annually and create over 10 000 jobs.

The massive steel and ferrochrome production plant is taking shape near Zimbabwe’s mining town of Mvuma.
Buildings have emerged out of thick forests, where staff houses, warehouses and a cement mixing plant are nearing completion.

Construction of the Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) in Manhize, Chirumhanzu District in the Midlands Province

Ms Maredza, whose husband, Mr Tafara Mushori, is employed by Disco, said she moved into the house in October last year.

“As you can see, we are in a polygamous marriage. My husband has two other wives. We are grateful to this company which constructed this house for us. We are happy to be here because the other two wives have their own bedrooms. The children have their own place to sleep,” she said.

Ms Maredza is part of one of the 18 families that were relocated to make way for the establishment of the steel plant.

“If you move around, you will see that there are houses with the same design and paint jobs, that were constructed by Disco. We are about 12 here and I am told four others were relocated to Mashonaland East, which is close to us,” she said.

Ms Maredza narrated: “We had a homestead at the site where the steel plant is being constructed and we were relocated to this place which is about 15km from the site. This area is spacious as compared to where we were from. We have four acres of land to plant our crops.”

She said the coming in of Disco also resulted in her husband being employed.

“My husband is at work now. He is one of the many locals who are employed at Disco,” said Ms Maredza.

As a parting shot she says: “As you can see, the clouds are hanging and it’s about to rain, let me attend to our garden before our husband returns from work.”

Apart from houses constructed for the relocated villagers, roads are being rehabilitated with a number of bridges being replaced.

There are also boreholes within walking distance for the villagers to fetch water for domestic use.
Another villager, Mr Timothy Muchuchuti, said the new houses were a blessing from God.

Ms Memory Maredza showing of her house

“This is a commendable development we are seeing taking place in Manhize. I didn’t think I would one day be employed as a builder and have my own house like this. Now I am able to send my children to school,” he said.
Nyikavanhu Councillor Simon Mapete said the community was very happy with the latest development after being connected to two mobile networks.

“Yes, boreholes are being sunk, roads rehabilitated and our people being employed. We also have the joy of mobile network connection. This development is coming with a lot of benefits. Our mobile phones are now connected,” he said.

Cllr Mapete said more business people were opening shops in the area with commuter omnibuses which were rare becoming a common sight, ferrying people to and from Mvuma town.

Disco public relations manager, Mr Joseph Shoko said the steel company had to relocate 18 families.

“A total of 12 families were relocated here at the industrial site but we also had to relocate six other families to Chivhu in Mashonaland East, ” he said.

Mr Shoko said on average, each family relocated has six members meaning over 100 people benefited from the relocation exercise.

“These villages are now in a new area close to the steel plant. We also employed thousands of locals from both Midlands and Mashonaland East who are working on site. We were targeting the age group between 19 and 35 and that’s most of the youths across the community,” he said.

Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima said he was excited that the steel plant is taking shape and is coming with a lot of opportunities for locals.

He said the Second Republic had opened up opportunities for investment in the province which resulted in locals benefiting.

Mr Timothy Muchuchuti’s daughters standing outside their house

“Who would have thought that thousands of our young men would be employed at the same time? Well, this is happening at Disco and we are very happy that as a province, we managed to attract investments of such proportion. There are over 1 000 people already working there which is a plus for us,” he said.

Minister Mavima said the development is in line with President Mnangagwa’s goal of leaving no one and no place behind as the economy grows.

The company has secured licences and approvals to exploit vast iron ore claims in the area where an industrial park and downstream industries will be established.

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