PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has reportedly taken the first step in addressing the issue of executive officers’ mega salaries at State-owned institutions, NewsDay has learnt.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Mugabe called for an immediate release of salary and wage schedules of all executives in parastatals and local authorities amidst revelations that the executives were living celebrity lifestyles while general staff wallow in poverty.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday revealed Mugabe’s interest in the salaries scandal saying the Chief Secretary (Misheck Sibanda) in Mugabe’s office had written to all CEOs of State-linked companies to submit their schedules to the President’s Office.
“On December 16, I wrote to the town clerk (Tendai Mahachi) applying further pressure on this matter — by which time Presidential interest in such matters was also weighing in with the presumed letter from the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet asking CEOs of State-linked entities to attend to salary disclosures,” Manyenyeni said.
He detailed how difficult it had been for the city fathers to access the salary schedule of council executives.
“There were further attempts by the town clerk to submit documents vaguely resembling what we were asking for. Pursuant to the matter we held a meeting with the town clerk, but the required information was not availed.”
Last week Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo said : “We have false, corrupt salaries that pose a serious challenge in the public sector where some people are earning as much as $230 000 in monthly salaries.
“People in business don’t make that much profit in a month. I’ve also heard of people earning $27 000 in parastatals. These salaries can’t be appropriate for a new economy.”
His remarks came in the wake of reports that Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) top managers are gobbling at least $1,1 million in basic monthly salaries at a time the enterprise was reeling under a $38 million debt while 18 council bosses were getting close to half a million dollars a month.
PSMAS chief executive officer Cuthbert Dube has since been fired while ZBC’s Happison Muchechetere was suspended for their mega salaries and allowances.
“We have got to deal with those issues. These salaries are coming from fees and subscriptions paid by the public. We are committed to dealing with those things. There is no reason why public officials should demand those things (perks),” Moyo said.
Manyenyeni said the issue of top managers at Town House availing their salary schedule has been a subject of concern at various levels of discussion.
He said together with the human resources committee chairperson Wellington Chikombo and Mahachi they were empowered by a full council meeting resolution to deal with the matter, but accused the management of not being forthcoming.
“Ordinarily, executive payroll information should be under the control of the HR committee and generally shared with fellow councillors, but there may be debate as to whether such information should be made public,” said Manyenyeni.
He said any person in need of such information is entitled to receive it and that it has to be “availed at the press of a button”.
Manyenyeni, who was accompanied by Chikombo and the deputy mayor Thomas Muzuva, said delay by the town clerk in giving him the schedule was a “justifiable cause for concern for councillors”.
“There were further attempts by the town clerk to submit documents vaguely resembling what we were asking for,” Manyenyeni said.
In reference to the salary schedule published by NewsDay yesterday, Manyenyeni said he had refused submissions that the document seen by NewsDay was forged.
“While the authenticity cannot be fully assured — I have rejected the submission that the schedule was forged.
“I would like to state that unless I am convinced that the amounts quoted are not correct — I wish to share the councillors’ dismay over the following . . . the shocking amounts themselves against the background of collapsing service delivery in key areas, the delayed payment of salaries of the general workforce of council.”
Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi, however, said the salaries quoted in the media were not a reflection of what managers on the ground were getting, without providing proof to the contrary.
“The figures do not reflect the true situation with regards the executive salaries. The correct salaries are not in any way near those mentioned in the article. Secondly council has submitted its salary schedule to its parent ministry,” he said.