Kadoma council in dilemma over Chombo directive

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Kadoma City Council is reportedly in a dilemma over how to reassign 70 employees at its liquor marketing project following a recent government directive to lease out the liquor outlets because they were not viable.

A few weeks ago, Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo ordered the local authority to lease out all its seven beerhalls and suspend Kadoma Liquor Marketing Authority (Kalma)’s operations for the next 10 years.

Chombo claimed the liquor project had failed to declare dividends to council since 2005.

The minister’s directive follows recommendations by a ministerial probe team recently tasked to investigate the council’s operations.

However, the council led by town clerk Malvern Dondo has resolved to defy the directive and retain three of the beer outlets, namely Cam & Motor, Nherera in Rimuka and Leisure Centre in Munhumutapa.

Dondo told NewsDay on Tuesday council was in a quandary over the welfare of the 70 workers in Kalma’s employ. He said the local authority had no money for their retrenchment packages and neither did it have the capacity to transfer the employees to other departments.

“This matter demands that we accord it due diligence and adequate consideration. Council has not come up with a final position, but it has resolved to implement the minister’s directive, although not in its entirety, as we would need to retain three of the beerhalls which according to us are performing viably.

“It should be appreciated that if we were to lay off the workers we would have to adhere to provisions of the Labour Act and award retrenchment packages, which we are not in a position to do. Also, we are not financially sound enough to absorb the workers as we are already in salary arrears for our 322-strong workforce,” said Dondo.

Dondo said council had also resolved to take appropriate action regarding Kalma’s debtors and creditors. Kadoma mayor Peter Matambo said council was considering awarding the affected workers shares in the beer franchise.