THOUSANDS of ex-workers and their families are struggling to survive following the collapse, in government hands, of Shabani Mashaba Mines (SMM), legislators lamented last week, urging the return of the company to businessman Mutumwa Mawere.
The destruction of SMM its tragic impact on dependent surrounding towns and communities, mirrors governments' disastrous running of parastatals with Redcliff also reduced to a ghost town after the collapse of former steelmaking behemoth Ziscosteel.
SMM was controversially seized from Mawere, now based in South Africa, in a campaign that was led by Patrick Chinamasa who is now finance minister.
Claiming the company was then heavily indebted to the State, the Zanu PF-led administration vowed to turn the business around but the government takeover has proved to be a disaster.
Zvishavane-Ngezi MP, John Holder (Zanu PF) referred to one of the mysteries surrounding the government takeover of the company last Thursday for an administration whose key policy is indigenisation.
"An indigenous Zimbabwean had purchased this mine now it's dead, the infrastructure and houses are going down and the workers have not been paid.
"Mutumwa Mawere was born in Gutu and there was no talk of the indigenisation (policy) there," said Holder.
Buhera South representative MP, Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu PF), said the government should consider giving the company back to Mawere.
"We should return the assets so that he can resuscitate the mine," he said.
"We should forgive him for whatever he did because as a nation we are a forgiving nation that is why we forgave Ian Smith despite his killing of thousands of Zimbabweans.
"I hope the Vice President (Emmerson Mnangagwa), who is here should take the matter up with Cabinet."
Patrick Chinamasa, now finance minister, led SMM takeover
MDC-T's Gift Chimanikire highlighted the tragic social impact of SMM's collapse.
"What is happening at SMM and Mashaba Mine is a tragedy," he said.
"The social decadence is tragic. The issues of child marriages are common as parents had to marry off their daughters to subsist."
The opposition legislator said ZMDC - the government parastatal charged with running SMM - was incompetent.
"ZMDC has a number of mines but none of them are running profitably," he said.
"What is important is the social welfare of the residents of SMM and Government should review its decision to pack SMM and Mashaba under ZMDC."
Holder agreed saying; "Government gave the mine to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, but it has no capacity to run that mine.
"Government should look for serious investors because when it was taken over it (SMM) had debts but they were running and were able to pay off some these debts and contribute to the GDP.
"Since it was put under reconstruction together with its 26 subsidiaries and all of them have been stripped and sold."