HomePoliticsZupco looks to Dahmer for help

Zupco looks to Dahmer for help

Itai Dzamara

PUBLIC transport operator, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco), has failed to pay Scania US$5 million amidst reports that it is facing imminent collapse.

face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Government is reportedly courting Kenneth Musanhi, the owner of Dahmer, to throw the parastatal a lifeline.

Musanhi confirmed this week that Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo met him last week and submitted government’s request to Dahmer.

“Minister Chombo came to me last week with the proposal from government,” Musanhi said. “We are still discussing the matter and I think in two weeks we will have come up with a position. Government wants us to repair many broken-down buses at Zupco as well as supply new buses. We agree that the state of affairs in the public transport sector has reached terrible levels and we have to do something now.”

Musanhi however stres-sed the need for government to provide foreign currency to the bus-assembling firm if the situation is to improve.

“Dahmer has the capa-city to repair buses and make new supplies. How-ever, we would need foreign currency to import spare parts and government’s assistance would be desperately required.”

A delegation from South Africa-based Sca-nia visited the country last week and Zupco is reported to have made clear its inability to pay for the 48 buses supplied in 2002. The parastatal cited serious viability problems and raised fears of imminent collapse, highly-placed sources revealed this week.

“The matter is now with government which has promised to source the money to pay Scania,” a source privy to the talks said on Tuesday.

The government announced plans in 2002 to acquire 250 Scania coaches through Pioneer Motor Corporation. It claimed Zupco had secured funding through Metropolitan Bank.

However, it is understood that Zupco failed to sustain the deal after 48 buses were delivered for which only initial deposits were paid. Zupco chief executive officer Bright Matonga is facing corruption charges over the handling of the deposits for the buses.

From a thriving fleet of 700 buses plying routes across the country as well as into other regional nations in its heyday, insiders say Zupco is left with a skeleton fleet of less than 50 buses.

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