Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Angry ethanol plant workers rough-up Mangoma

Angry ethanol plant workers rough-up Mangoma

27/08/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

IRATE villagers, workers and local war veterans threatened to beat up Energy 
Minister Elton Mangoma Sunday blaming him for the closure of the US$600 
million ethanol plant at Chisumbanje which has left thousands of workers at 
risk of losing their jobs.

Mangoma was part of a cabinet delegation led by Deputy Prime Minster Arthur 
Mutambara which visited the plant as part of efforts to help revive the 
stalled project.

But cabinet colleagues had to intervene to save Mangoma as angry villagers 
verbally abused the MDC-T minister and threatened to beat him up as tempers 
flared over the closure of the company which had created thousands of jobs 
for locals.

Mangoma has refused to budge over pleas by the company for the introduce 
mandatory blending of ethanol and petrol. He says there is no justification 
for forcing all motorists to use the company’s products adding Green Fuel, 
which is promoting the project, had also failed to justify its prices.

The stand-off resulted in the company shutting down the Chisumbanje plant 
after exhausting storage capacity having stockpiled some 10 million litres 
of product.

And on Sunday employees as well as local villagers laid into Mangoma, 
accusing him of sabotaging the project for political reasons.
“You invited sanctions to this country and now you are inviting sanctions to 
Chisumbanje. You come from Nyanga and you are coming to close our plant 
here. Go and build your own plant in Nyanga and we will not bother,” one of 
the villagers charged.

Another villager added: “Last time we read in the newspapers that you 
(Minister Mangoma) went to Mozambique to negotiate a power deal of 21 
megawatts. We are saying why are you not introducing mandatory blending and 
we will produce those 21 megawatts here?”

But a visibly emotional Mangoma denied the charges, insisting the Green Fuel 
had failed to address various issues raised by the government.

“The reason I went to Mozambique was that we owe them money. We have enough 
electricity in the country. This country has no shortage of petrol and no 
one has gone to any garage and failed to get petrol,” he said.

“You should not be told lies that there is anybody opposed to the plant. All 
we want is for the company to address important issues first, like giving 
land to resettle those whose land was taken away by the company.

“We should not force people to buy their (Green Fuel) product. Their product 
is expensive and I have advised them to reduce it,” he said.

Unconvinced, the crowd continued to jeer the minister with some threatening 
to beat him up, resulting in Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa 
intervening to try and calm the tempers.

“Let us not kill our project because of emotions. This project has brought 
development in this area with people building houses and business is 
booming,” he said.

One of the project’s promoters, businessman Billy Rautenbach warned that the 
investors were running out of funds due to the disagreements over mandatory 

“We can produce the best in Africa and what we want is mandatory blending to 
force oil companies to buy Zimbabwean products,” he said.

“On the issue of land we want to develop what we promised to the people but 
my wallet is now empty.”

The project is a joint venture between the agricultural parastatal ARDA and 
private firms Arda, Macdom and Rating Investments.

The investors say mandatory blending could help save the country millions of 
dollars annual in fuel imports.


New Posts: