ZIMBABWE Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) CEO Happison Muchechetere, currently on forced leave, was pampering himself with a hefty package amounting to over $40 000 a month, including a monthly salary of $27 000, as workers wallowed in poverty.
BY JOHN NYASHANU
Employees at the State broadcaster have gone for five months without salaries.
Government yesterday revealed that apart from his huge salary, Muchechetere enjoyed other perks which included home entertainment of $3 000, housing allowance, $3 000, $2 500 for his security, unlimited business, entertainment allowance, unlimited fuel allowance and wages for his maid, among other benefits.
The “obscene” package was revealed at a meeting held by Media, information and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira and ZBC management at Pockets Hill, Harare, to get feedback on the corporation’s business plan to emerge from its crisis.
“It is not sustainable to pay people such salaries. We reject the idea that businesses pay salaries through borrowing. There would be nothing amiss with these packages if the corporation was making $1 million a day. Now in this instance ZBC’s wage bill is way above what they are able to generate,” he said.
Mandiwanzira added that management had resolved to cut its own salaries by between 20% and 40%.
A proposal to also cut general workers’ salaries by between 2 and 5% was yet to get approval from the employees.
He said from his meeting with management, it emerged that ZBC was not in a position to pay the workers again this month, but said government was working on a plan to pay them.
The deputy minister could, however, not be drawn to divulge how many months in outstanding salaries it would pay or when exactly the funds could be availed.
All has not been well at ZBC where, according to Muchechetere’s sympathisers, Treasury during the inclusive government did not fund its operations.
The corporation relied largely on licence fees and advertisements, which reportedly generated inadequate resources. However, managers’ packages became a talking point with critics questioning why a struggling organisation was paying them salaries not commensurate with what it was generating.