WORKERS’ representatives yesterday pleaded with Parliament to amend the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) Act to clip board members’ wings saying they were “too influential” in determining investment portfolios by the organisation.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, represented by its president George Nkiwane and health and safety officer Nathan Banda, as well as the Public Service Association, represented by its president Cecilia Alexander and chief executive officer Emmanuel Tichareva, appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and unanimously called for a revamp of the Act to give workers an influential role.
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions president Jacob Gwavava said the whole NSSA board should be revamped and replaced with a board dominated by workers.
Alexander told the committee that during her tenure as NSSA board member representing workers between 2010 and 2013, only three members represented workers, resulting in investment decisions such as investing at Joina City and Renaissance Bank being dominated by employers.
“The board has also been resisting increases in benefits and in January 2013 the Minister of Public Service agreed to adjustments of NSSA benefits, but the decision was reversed by the board,” said Alexander.
Nkiwane said a NSSA forensic audit was imperative, adding amendments to the NSSA Act should ensure there was allowance for consultation of workers before investment decisions were made.
Gwavava accused NSSA board members of failing to ensure that workers employed by indigenous and Chinese companies joined the social security scheme.
“Our proposal is that the age of retirement should be reduced from 65 years to 55 years, that the amounts benefited be increased from $60 to $150 and that NSSA should be bailing out distressed industries and assist low-income workers to get houses,” said Gwavava.