Plant closes after machine theft

2014-05-26 00:00

A SAWMILL plant that hired about 25 young people in the Sweetwaters area has been forced to close after thieves made off with equipment from the plant to sell as scrap metal.

The vandals removed parts from a machine valued at around R75 000, reportedly to sell to scrap yards.

Zwelinjani Msomi of Ziqashe Forestry Project told The Witness that they now operate near Taylor’s Halt, using another machine.

Those who worked at the Sweetwaters sawmill may now lose their jobs. Previously hopes had been high that more people could be employed there, said Msomi.

“But it turned out the criminals realised they could sell the machine for scrap metal,” he said.

“I had to move the remaining parts of machine and hide them in the Gubeshe area … and cut down my staff as we no longer have work.”

One of the workers, Mthokozisi Ngubane (24), said the situation was stressful.

“We go to bed not knowing if the following day we will still have our jobs as a result of these criminals,” he said.

Ngubane supports his family with the money he earns.

John Nkomo, who also works on the project, said they needed protection. “Our jobs help us survive. They must know that by doing this they are taking away our jobs.”

A community hall next to the plantation was also stripped of its doors, windows and parts of the roof.

Msomi said they have not reported the matter to the police because they would never recover the machine and there was nothing they could do.

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