Home » Business » Mutasa Speaks on Chisumbanje

Government does not know the real value of the Chisumbanje Ethanol plant, although it is a partner in the project with Macdom and Rating Investments owned by businessman Mr Billy Rautenbach, a Cabinet Minister has said.

There are conflicting figures on the value of the plant, with some putting it at US$600 million and others at below US$60 million.

Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa on Wednesday said although he was actively involved in establishing the plant, only Mr Rautenbach knew its true value.

He said he supported Mr Rautenbach’s proposal to set up the ethanol plant.

Minister Mutasa was responding to questions from journalists after presenting a lecture to students taking National Defence Course Number 2 at the National Defence College in Harare. His presentation was on “the National Security Concept of Zimbabwe”.

“The value of the plant can only be stated by Billy because he is the one who put it up,” he said. “We were not very much involved in the construction of the plant and we know very little of what went into the plant.

“Yes, I got involved right at the beginning of setting up of the Chisumbanje project. It was with the involvement of Government first when Cde (Rugare) Gumbo was the Minister of Agriculture and later when (Dr Joseph) Made took over. I have not hidden this to my colleagues in Cabinet. I have openly said, ‘yes I support that project and because it is being done by Billy I support him as well to get things done’.”

Minister Mutasa said people such as Cdes Temba Mliswa and Basil Nyabadza, who are mentioned in the unfolding ethanol plant saga were pursuing personal interests.

“The national interests that we are pursuing are those that involve the joint venture between Government and Mr Billy Rautenbach,” he said.

Minister Mutasa said Mr Rautenbach was required to cede 51 percent shareholding of the company to Government in line with the indigenisation law.

On the economy, Minister Mutasa said Zimbabwe was facing numerous challenges and should reconsider its Look East Policy.

Minister Mutasa said the Chinese at times seemed not to be forthcoming and Government should come up with ways of growing the economy.

When asked to disclose the value of the plant, Mr Rautenbach directed all questions to his public relations manager, Ms Lillian Muungani.

Ms Muungani claimed the value of the plant was public knowledge and was presented in a document presented by company officials to Parliament recently.

She then asked for written questions, which had not been answered despite repeated phone calls — which went unanswered — to both her and Mr Rautenbach last night.

In his lecture, Minister Mutasa said the country’s security was under serious threat from Western-funded non-governmental organisations that were meddling in internal political affairs. “Currently, there are more than 2 500 NGOs operating in Zimbabwe, the bulk of them driven by one fundamental theme — illegal regime change,” he said.

“Thus the industry to overthrow President Mugabe and Zanu-PF employs significant population numbers, institutions and formations.”

Minister Mutasa said Western media channels were being used as propaganda mouthpieces to denigrate Zimbabwe and its leadership.

He said illegal Western sanctions on the country had hurt the economy.

Minister Mutasa said the country’s economic hopes were tied to successful implementation of the Zim-Asset, Government’s economic blueprint.

Source : The Herald