‘Hefty’ Zesa salaries a myth — Minister

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Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma rubbished assertions that Zesa staff were earning hefty salaries saying on Tuesday that management at the power utility was in fact bitter about his continuous refusal to effect salary increases.

Mangoma told journalists during a Press conference to announce measures his ministry would take to improve power supplies that instead of raising Zesa staff salaries, he would rather pay them bonuses for improvement of services.

The minister had been asked to explain his views on the recent increase of electricity tariffs by 31%, given that most people were still earning salaries below the poverty datum line and Zesa service delivery was still poor.

Allegations were that the huge increase was meant to cover Zesa staff’s bloated salaries.

“On Zesa salaries, the management actually wants to take me to court for not effecting salary increases,” said Mangoma.

He added: “I have said they will not get hefty salaries until we receive enough power and that I would rather deal with bonuses for the improvement of services they would have done,” he said.

The minister however refused to disclose the salary structures at Zesa, but said they were not as competitive as many people presumed.

Mangoma went on to justify the 31% tariff increase, saying the old tariff of $7,35 per kilowatt was effected when civil servants were earning a paltry $100 per month.

“It was said by January 2010 there would be a review, but that did not take place.

“When you look at the issues that affect Zesa, you will find that it has no money to be able to refurbish its systems so that it becomes stable. Over the past six weeks we have had total blackouts because the system has no shocks to protect it,” he said.

Mangoma said the electricity industry had not had any meaningful investment over the past 10 years.