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NRZ caught up in nepotism, corruption and maladministration scandals

by Stephen Jakes
30 Nov 2021 at 12:16hrs | Views
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is reportedly riddled by allegations of nepotism, corruption and mal-administration with the parastatal's board member and acting general manager Respina Zinyanduko being accused of using the company's current restructuring programme to promote her closest at the same time victimising some workers.

Revelations are that some time in August, NRZ introduced the restructuring exercise prompting about 1 500 both permanent and casual employees to either lose their jobs or reassign.

Internal sources from the parastatal said the restructuring exercise worsened the plight of workers and further plunged the cash strapped institution into financial quagmire.

Zinyanduko was appointed NRZ Acting GM in February after the death of then GM Joseph Mashika but the new boss has been caught up in corruption and nepotism accusations after she allegedly promoted her secretary and driver.

The sources said the GM is busy promoting people who work in her office with indications that she recently promoted her secretary from C4 to D3 a grade which is equivalent to a managerial post.

She is alleged to have promoted her driver from B3 to C4 which is a supervisory post and the driver, a holder of only an "O" level certificate with two subjects now earns more than an enginemen and artisans.

Zinyanduko is alleged to have recently instructed management at the company's Real Estate department in Harare to buy a cellphone as well as pay salary to her relative on industrial attachment.

"Currently the company's policy is that students on attachment are not supposed to get salary or other company benefits but the GM's relative is enjoying all these benefits. Other students on attachment are not enjoying similar benefits," said the internal source.

The workers accuse Zinyanduko of dictatorial tendencies as well as being surrounded by a few people whom she is using to spy on other workers.

"The Acting GM is surrounded by bootlickers she uses to spy on other workers. These include security guards," said one worker.

The workers also expressed concerns over the controversial appointment of the same Acting GM, saying according to good corporate governance rules, a board member is not supposed to act for more than six months.

They said following the expiry of the six months in July, Zinyanduko was supposed to revert back to her board position and a substantive GM be appointed.

"Her double roles have clearly compromised her," said one worker.

The Acting GM is alleged to have recently been involved in a nasty verbal exchange with the Minister of Provincial Affairs for Bulawayo province Judith Ncube after she openly told the government's representative in the province that "I don't take instructions from politicians."

REvelations are that the NRZ board chairperson Martin Dinha is failing to rein in on her because he also allegedly benefits from clandestine activities.

Dinha and Zinyanduko have been accused of pocketing thousands of dollars in allowances while attending "useless" meetings in various countries.

Within a space of three months, the trio have been to Turkey, Tanzania, Russia, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"In all these visits what surprises me is that they always travel without technical advisers. Normally, when such visits are done, technical workers are supposed to provide the required advice," said the internal source.

The concerns by workers are that Zinyanduko has failed to meet NRZ's target to move 4,5 million tonnes of goods this year.

"Workers have no morale at all. The current GM is the worst in the history of the organization. The year has almost ended and we have only moved 1,5 million tonnes of goods against our yearly target of 4,5 million tonnes," said the source.

NRZ at its peak had 68 locomotives and now it is down to only six and three of those are hired from Sheltam for US$1 500 per day per locomotive. The company is also hiring wagons at about US$30 per day.

Zinyanduko has denied all the allegations leveled against her indicating that all due processes are being followed in the recruitment or promotion of employees.

"Advertisements and interviews are carried out where there are respondents and all employees are free to apply with interviews taking place as per agreed positions with labour," noted Acting GM in response to questions sent.

She denied claims she influenced management at the company's Real Estate department in Harare to buy a cell phone and pay salary for her relative on industrial attachment.

 "I don't have any relatives in NRZ on industrial attachment. The allegations are false. The NRZ policy is that we do not pay students on attachment or give any bonuses unless such has a prior Board resolution," she responded.

Zinyanduko also denied allegations that she once clashed with the Bulawayo minister saying they have cordial relations as evidenced by her attendance of all NRZ functions despite her busy schedule.

 The GM however defended the globe-trotting allegations saying the trips were above board and justified.

 "All trips for Parastatals are approved by Cabinet after a thorough analysis of the reasons behind such travel. After the trips, detailed reports are done to the shareholder. We had some very successful trips. It is unfortunate that those allegations are coming from people who have no idea of the mandate we would have been given by the shareholder," she said.

Zinyanduko said the company had achieved its reviewed target by more than 80% despite COVID-19 pandemic and challenges caused by ailing equipment.

"To us it is a very good performance given the fact that the country was operating under lockdowns...," she said.

Source - Byo24News