Kadoma City Council has dismissed the entire board of directors and general manager of its beer brewing subsidiary Kadoma Marketing (KAM) following a strike by workers over unpaid salaries and alleged mismanagement.
The eight board members (three appointed by council and the other five appointed by stakeholders from the public) led by Sheppard Machaya, were relieved of their duties at KAM, a council subsidiary formed to run council beerhalls and its traditional beer brewery.
The local authority also dismissed acting general manager Misheck Jikinya and placed all top managers on forced leave after concluding that the team had failed to turn around the fortunes of the loss-making company. Kadoma director of housing and community services Joel Madzivanyika has since been appointed to take charge of operations.
Kadoma mayor Peter Matambo confirmed the dismissals yesterday saying as the owners of KAM, council had to act to protect both the workers and council assets held in trust by KAM.
“We did not involve ourselves in the day-to-day running of KAM although it is owned by council, but after the strike and investigations by the local authority revealed that those entrusted with running the business unit had failed, we had to move in to protect our interests,” said Matambo.
He said the strike at KAM had not affected operations at the local authority since the two were separate entities.
“There is no strike at council,” the mayor said. “Service delivery is normal and improving by the day and after the action we took at KAM workers are back at work and we are keeping a close eye on operations for now.”
Councillor Tinashe Mugwira, who was part of the dismissed board, told NewsDay KAM was grappling with overstaffing and huge debts which were way above its operational size. He said the utility employed over 73 workers and was saddled with a $100 000 debt.
“We were struggling to turn around the fortunes of KAM owing to the massive debts accrued and overstaffing which we found obtaning since we took over in 2008. It had become a haven of political appointees during the Zanu PF-led council and we have struggled trimming that workforce,” said Mugwira.
Mugwira said KAM’s wage bill hovered around $15 000 a month against a turnover of less than $40 000. Kwekwe, which runs a bigger brewery and marketing arm, only had 54 employees but had since stopped operations citing viability problems.