Local News

Shoddy engineers face blacklist

SHODDY ENGINEERS FACE BLACKLIST
Harare July 10, 2012 (New Ziana) –The Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ) is investigating cases of negligence and poor workmanship, a move which may see a number of players in the industry losing their practicing licenses.
Several accidents that took place at work sites in which people were injured while others died have been reported to engineering regulatory authority.
ECZ chief executive officer Engineer Ben Rafemoyo revealed to New Ziana that the council, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers was probing a number of cases and de-registration was a likely punishment upon determination.
“Currently there are three cases which we are pursuing and the ruling will differ depending on their individual circumstances,” he said.
Rafemoyo said the council would be moving to uphold public safety in the engineering sector.
“Gone are the days when people would just do shoddy work without regard for safety,” he said.
The ECZ was established through the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe Act with the mandate to register and monitor the operations of technicians, engineers, engineering firms and constituent bodies. 
New Ziana

Concern at delay to convert Zim dollar era pensions

CONCERN AT DELAY TO CONVERT ZIM DOLAR ERA PENSIONS
Harare July 9, 2012 (New Ziana)-The Public Protector’s Office (PPO) has expressed concern at the delay in paying out pensions to workers who retired before the introduction of multiple foreign currencies in 2009.
The introduction of the multiple currency system saw pension savings for many employees, both in the public and private sector, heavily eroded.
PPO law officer Batanai Madzingira said the difficulty in converting the funds was causing delay in payouts.
“We have received cases of government workers who retired in 2009 and up to now have not received their pensions,” he said.
“The major problem being that there is no formula available to convert the Zimbabwean dollar to United States dollars,” he said.
Madzingira said parastatals like Zupco, ZESA and the National Railways of Zimbabwe were struggling to disburse pension funds.
“Zupco owes its retired, retrenched and pensioned workers from 2009 and apparently actuary is yet to calculate and convert the currency which affected the pension fund scheme,” he said.
The NRZ converted its currency resulting in some workers getting $171 with a monthly allowance of $50 after working for the parastatal for more than 37 years.
Zimbabwe has more than 2 900 pension funds although some of the companies are dormant, after failing to honour payment of pension contributions.
The pension industry is expected to rebound as more companies revive after adoption of multiple foreign currencies.
New Ziana

Chrome miners blasted for lack of vision

CHROME MINERS BLASTED FOR LACKING VISION
Harare July 9, 2012 (New Ziana) –The continued call by small-scale chrome miners for the government to lift the ban on imports of raw ore is a result of lack of strategy and vision, a legislator said on Monday.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chairperson Edward Chindori- Chininga told members of the Chrome Miners Association that lack of vision was also preventing the sector from attracting investors to set up smelting furnaces.
“You do not have a plan, that is why the ban was effected in the first place,” he said.
The Zimbabwe government last year banned the export of chrome ore in a move that was intended to build capacity for internal refinery.
Chrome Miners Association chairperson, Thomas Gono said the miners were maintaining their push for the government to lift the ban on exports of raw chrome with a pledge to invest in smelting furnaces in the long run.
“Our plan with regards to lumpy chrome is that the government should allow us to export until such a time the country had adequate smelting capacity,” he said.
Chindori however did not have kind words for the association, which he insisted was disorganized.
“You seem to be pushing for exports but with no substantive plan for the future. You have no future. Banks will not support you because you do not have a plan,” he said.
Zimbabwe holds about 90 percent of the world's chromite reserves and resources and the ban will affect exports to South Africa and China.
There are three large-scale ferrochrome miners in Zimbabwe, including Zimbabwe Alloys and Zimasco, which is owned by Sino steel of China. Zimbabwe has three smelters that have the capacity to smelt 1.5 million tonnes of chrome.
New Ziana

Kamative set for reopening

KAMATIVI REVIVAL ON COURSE
Harare July 9, 2012 (New Ziana)-The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is close to reaching agreement with an investor to revive the defunct Kamativi tin mine in Matabeleland North province.
The mine, opened in 1936, closed in June 1994 after international prices fell to levels that rendered operations nonviable.
The price depression emanated from the devastating tin price crash in 1985 when, overnight, the price crashed from about US$10 000 per tone to less than US$4 000.
Government had since announced that it had short listed three investors willing to partner the ZMDC in the venture.
ZMDC general manager Jerry Ndlovu told New Ziana the corporation was close to securing a partner.
“About two weeks ago we were in South Africa doing due diligence on the three short listed firms,” he said.
“We are compiling a report and by August we should have completed the process and have an investor in place.”
Ndlovu however refused to reveal names of the companies interested in the partnership.
Between $35 million and $50 million was required to resuscitate operations at Kamativi.
At present a tonne of tin fetches between $17 000 and $22 000 on the international market.
Tin is used in electro plating, creating alloys and manufacturing kitchen utensils.
Tin mining was a major economic activity in the province and at its peak, the mine produced one million tonnes of the base metal annually and employed about 1 000 people.
New Ziana

Beam still active

BEAM STILL ACTIVE

HARARE July 7, 2012 (New Ziana)-The Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) is still active and has sufficient resources to support children enrolled under the programme for the whole year, an official said on Saturday.
Media reports last week alleged that BEAM had collapsed after the United Nations Education Fund (UNCEF) pulled out.
Labour and Social Services permanent secretary Sidney Mhishi assured schools, parents and stakeholders that BEAM was still capable of supporting the children it enrolled
“We would like to assure parents, children, schools and all stakeholders that all children registered under BEAM at both primary and secondary school level will receive their full payments for 2012 with third term fees expected to be paid by the second week of the third term,” he said.
Mhishi said the government was funding US 16 million for secondary education whilst the primary education the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) would cater for secondary schools to the tune of US$15 million.
Mhishi urged the media to verify facts before printing to avoid unnecessary panic.
“The Ministry would like to encourage reporters to verify information on the BEAM from the Programme Management Unit in the Ministry before going to print to avoid causing unnecessary anxiety on children, families and schools,” he said.
This year the Zimbabwe government is targeting to support 550 000 children on the BEAM.
BEAM is one of the various social protection programmes that the government provides to vulnerable groups.
Through BEAM the government has managed to provide social protection to orphans and vulnerable children by assisting with tuition fees, levies and examination fees.
To date, over four million children have benefited from BEAM since its inception in 2001.
The BEAM programme has been funded solely from central government using funds from the National AIDS Trust Fund of the National Aids Council.
New Ziana

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