Local News

Zim allocates Essar 20 provisional claims


Harare May 28, 2012 (New Ziana)-The Zimbabwe government has resolved to allocate 20 claims to New Zim Steel so that mining can resume while the issue of mineral rights is being concluded, a cabinet Minister said on Monday.

Government has not yet transferred mineral rights to Indian firm Essar Africa to enable it resuscitate operations at the defunct steel mine which ceased operating in 2008.

Essar Africa bought a 54 percent controlling stake in Zisco (now New Zim Steel) and has been paying salaries which have since been suspended as the acquisition deal is yet to be finalized.

Industry and Commerce Minister Prof Welshman Ncube said cabinet resolved to give the 20 claims to allow New Zim Steel to produce so it can resume paying workers.

“Cabinet agreed to offer 20 claims to Essar while awaiting the conclusion of the Supreme Court case on mineral rights,” he said.

He was appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce which is chaired by Buhera North legislator William Mutomba.

Prof Ncube also said Essar did not have an obligation to pay workers before the resumption of production.

“The agreement says existing workers should be taken over by the new company and should be paid. It presupposes that the agreement has been fulfilled. Essar will have an obligation to pay all that but we have not met our preconditions,” he said.

Appearing before the same committee last week, workers said they were informed that they would only start receiving salaries after the deal is concluded.

Ncube said Essar has been paying workers out of its goodwill because the deal has not been concluded and that government was responsible for the delay.

“The payment of salaries was an act of goodwill. They are not in default because everything has not been concluded. Once we give them mineral rights they can resume,” he said.

“If we as government do our part, then we can point fingers at them. Until we do our part as government we cannot blame them,” he added.

Essar has spent about US$32 million paying workers salaries and benefits.

New Ziana

UN commends Zim for managing HIV

Harare May 24, 2012 (New Ziana) – It remains mysterious that the Zimbabwe government managed to stabilize the AIDS pandemic at a time the country is going through economic hardships, a United Nations official said on Thursday.
Zimbabwe has managed to sustain pole position in the response to HIV and AIDS in Africa despite the harsh economic hardships the country experienced over the past decade.
The country has reduced the HIV prevalence rate from 33 percent in 1999 to 18.1 in 2006 and to the current 13, 6 percent.
UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe was addressing the inaugural GlobalPOWER Women Network Africa high level meeting held in Harare which gathered women Parliamentarians, leading African women entrepreneurs, civil society and development partners.
Sidibe said it “Zimbabwe has been able to increase by more than 50 percent the number of people in need of treatment,” he said.
He commended the government for coming up with home- based initiatives to fight HIV and AIDS.
“Zimbabwe managed with the difficulties to introduce Aids levy, the best ever initiative in Africa,” he said adding that at a local clinic he visited on Wednesday 95 percent of expecting women gave birth to HIV free babies as a result of PMTCT programmes.
Sidibe however said Africa’s progress on HIV and AIDS management remained stagnant for as long as violence against women continued to be perpetrated.
“We need a new model of development in which women have greater control in life,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion visiting UN Human Rights envoy Dr Navi Pillay said lack of respect for women remained a Human rights issue in Africa.
Nigeria’s Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iwela said women are a resource which if invested into will contribute to economies of nations.
“Any country that does not invest in women and girls is neglecting investing in its own economy.
Í believe we can make progress in Africa but we have to be serious about investing in women and girls,” she said.
The two-day meeting brought together women leaders to advance empowerment and gender equality through HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights responses.
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Ministers Arthur Mutambara and Thokozane Khupe, AU Commission deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha, UN Human Rights envoy Dr Navanethem Pillay, Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi- Okonjo- Iwela and several other ministers from across the continent attended the meeting.
The meeting is running under the theme –“Accelerating Action for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality in the area of HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Getting to Zero in Africa deaths.”
The aim of the GlobalPOWER Women Network is to establish networks among women leaders and parliamentarians to share experiences and approaches to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.
DPM Khupe is the current president of the Network.
New Ziana

ZIMSEC still owes 2011 "O" level exam markers

Harare March 9, 2012 (New Ziana)-The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) still owes “O” Level markers at least 25 percent of their dues for marking last year’s November exams, an official said on Friday.
Zimsec board chairperson Professor Norman Maphosa said the examinations body was still to get funds to pay off the remaining balances.
“The council paid all Grade Seven and “A” Level markers all their marking fees but we still owe 25 percent to the entire “O” Level markers,” he said.
“We expect to receive money from Treasury and pay them in the near future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maphosa said Zimsec was implementing some new innovations to improve its efficiency.
He said Zimsec had piloted e-marking and was also expecting to introduce electronic registration for the June and November 21012 exams.
The examinations body was also in the process of setting up a printing and sorting warehouse facility in Norton, he said.
Maphosa said ZIMSEC was also on course to release the 2010 June and November exam certificates.
“Counterfeit certificates were increasing and the council needed to place more security features, which is on course,” he said.
ZIMSEC has over the years come under fire for failing to release results timeously since taking over the running of local examinations from Cambridge in 1999.
It has also been plagued by inefficiency in running the examination system, resulting in exam paper leakages and cheating.
New Ziana

President launches e-learning program

Domboshava March 28, 2012(New Ziana) -President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday officially launched the national e-learning program at Chogugudza Primary School in Goromonzi District, Mashonaland East province, about 35 kilometres south east of the capital.
The computerization program targets to connect all schools in the country to the internet by 2015 and complements the Presidential Computerization program, the brainchild of President Mugabe.
Addressing hundreds of school children, parents, government officials and traditional leaders gathered at the school, President Mugabe said the program was an indication of government’s commitment to providing quality education.
“Encouraged by the Presidential Computerization program, the first successful step of transforming Zimbabwe into an information society, we have now decided to go a gear up and add value to the initial program by introducing another dimension to it, in the form of an e-learning program,” he said.
“The e-learning program marks a phase that focuses on establishing networked computer laboratories in primary and secondary schools throughout the country.”
President Mugabe said the program would enable the development of websites and web-based applications for tertiary education institutions, primary and secondary schools.
He said the program would improve Zimbabwe’s standing as the country with the highest literacy rate in Africa.
President Mugabe said the introduction of e-learning was a direct response to some of the recommendations made by the 1999 Nziramasanga Commission of enquiry into the training and education system.
“Such a move is in tandem with developments in other countries within COMESA, SADC and the rest of the world.
“We cannot afford to lag behind but instead we should be active participants in the ICT world and the emergent information age,” he said.
He urged other arms of government to adopt ICTs in their operations to improve their efficiencies.
“The world today revolves around the use of ICTs, which has become the backbone that anchors all competitive economies. As a nation we cannot afford to ignore this global reality.”
President Mugabe hailed the support recived from various well wishers who donated computers to further the computerization program since it did not have a budgetary provision.
A total of 20 schools from the province recived 10 computers each.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Nelson Chamisa handed over an I-pad tablet to President Mugabe.
Government officials present included Home Affairs co-Minister Theresa Makone, Minister of State Security Sydney Sekeramai and various MPs from the province.
New Ziana

NRZ targets moving 6 million tonnes this year

Harare March 6, 2012 (New Ziana) -The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is targeting to move 6 million tonnes of traffic this year up from 3, 8 million tonnes in 2011.
Last year the parastatal failed to move 5, 3 million tonnes of traffic it had targeted due to depressed industrial capacity, ageing equipment and railway infrastructure.
NRZ managing director, retired air commodore Mike Karakadzai said the performance of the national economy determined the pace of the transport sector.
“We are targeting to move 6 million tonnes of traffic in 2012.This will be spurred by an increase in mineral production, agricultural production and the industrial capacity utilization which means more demand for raw materials,” he said.
“We will be moving coal and minerals to various destinations in and outside the country. Sugar can production is also on the rise and they also rely on us to move cane from the fields to the mills as well as the raw sugar to the refining plants,” he added.
Last month the NRZ and the Hwange Colliery Company signed a Service Level Agreement to guarantee the transportation of coal from Hwange to various destinations in and outside the country.
Karakadzai said NRZ will this year check on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis what the company moved in terms of traffic.
The NRZ suffered the brunt of sanctions that Western countries imposed on Zimbabwe as it experienced widespread vandalism of its equipment and infrastructure and could not refurbish its aged fleet.
The parastatal needs about US$274 million for recapitalization.
New Ziana