The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) management might soon be called back to Parliament to explain how they plan to solve salary issues bedevilling the parastatal.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development chairperson Dextor Nduna (Chegutu West MP) yesterday told NewsDay Business that the committee felt that NRZ management was moving at a snail pace in terms of solving salary disputes. NRZ workers are owed for more than 11 months in arrears amounting to more than $50 million.
He said the continuous demonstrations by disgruntled workers at the NRZ were dangerous as employees could resort to looting the ailing company’s equipment, which might completely derail its operations.
“The NRZ management appeared before the committee last year and we toured their premises, and made it very clear to them that they needed to deal with issues of human capital urgently because it was pointless to acquire state-of-the-art equipment which would be used by a disgruntled workforce,” Nduna said.
“Currently, the NRZ wants to rehabilitate its equipment if a $500 million loan from the Development Bank of Southern Africa were released, but we are saying once they get that funding, they should pay off the workers because the equipment that they will purchase will be prone to vandalism by the disgruntled human capital.”
He added: “We might have to re-call the NRZ management to appear before the committee in order to give an account of what they have done to solve the salary disputes, as well as to give us a bigger picture of the loan that they were supposed to get. We feel they have been dealing with the salary issues at a very slow pace.”
Nduna said there were other ways in which NRZ could raise finances to pay the disgruntled workers, which included reviving
mining ventures with Zambian Railways with which NRZ jointly holds mineral prospecting rights in South Africa since the colonial era.
“They can source income from some of their assets like the Victoria Falls Hotel and even from sale of their scrap metal,” he said.
“NRZ is an engine for economic growth and in order for it to be successful, we cannot start big infrastructural projects without first paying workers.”
NRZ workers this week engaged in peaceful demonstrations at their workstations throughout the country to demand their outstanding salaries.