Parly summons Mandiwanzira over Telecel saga

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THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services has summoned ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira to appear before it over the Telecel saga.

BY OBEY MANAYITI / mthandazo nyoni

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) on Wednesday cancelled Telecel’s operating licence for allegedly flouting regulations.

As the saga deepens, Parliament has invited the minister responsible to explain the matter which could affect 1 000 employees and more than two million subscribers.

“We have called the Minister of ICT to our committee, but we are yet to confirm the dates. It might be next week,” the committee’s chair Nelson Chamisa said.

“It’s our duty as a Parliamentary Committee to really understand what is happening. We play an oversight role on the government.”

Chamisa noted that considering that Telecel employs over 1 000 workers and that it has many subscribers on its network, such decisions to cancel operating licences should be weighed in that context so that there would not be much prejudice.

“Firing people is not easy when we should create jobs,” Chamisa said`, adding that it was the responsibility of his committee to dig deeper and ensure a semblance of sanity was restored.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) accused government of being double-faced in the Telecel saga.

“We have said that there are some pieces of legislation like the indigenisation law which might not be able to assist us as a country,” ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said.

“We are told that Telecel’s indigenisation proposal was not accepted. What it means is that there is a challenge with our laws. They are causing all these problems. Instead of government promoting investment, it is working against that. The government is being inconsistent here. It is inviting foreign investment and when investors come, they take away their businesses.”

Subscribers were given a 30-day period to migrate to other networks and Telecel was given 60 days to decommission its equipment.
Telecel has vowed to fight both on the local and international fronts to have its licence back.

Meanwhile, close to 50 Telecel Zimbabwe contract workers yesterday besieged the company’s Bulawayo offices demanding their dues, claiming they were owed three months’ salaries.

“We signed three months’ contracts with Telecel and they promised to give us $250 per month. However, since we signed contracts with them, we have been getting half salaries or even nothing at all,” one of the workers said.

But Telecel Zimbabwe spokesperson Francis Chimanda denied the claims.

“The correct position is that some contract workers whose contracts expire end of April have been discontinued in line with the conditions of their contracts. The employees in question are contract workers with three-month contracts and their wages are up to date. The monies owed are for April 2015 and the delay in paying them has to do with the employees being cleared by HR (human resources) first before they get their final pay and severance,” Chimanda said.

5 COMMENTS

  1. This predator govt just need to be shown the exit door! after this they claim zim cant get investment because of sanctions! what sanctions? humbavha nekukara kusina magumo ndiko kwauraya nyika!

  2. Go on Go Chamisa.There must be a parliamentary debate and secret vote to stop this nonsense.

  3. People are very angry and very angry and emotional but the problem lies with the shareholders who put power politics before business ethics ,the minister is only fulfilling statutory requirements ,telecel as a business entity does not have an operating licence which is what they could have done if the share holders had been proactive and people should remember that these shareholders are part of the problem Zimbabwe is facing today of lack of local investment and FDI they helped to create a piece of legislation the idegeniousion law which has hamstrung progress even disregarding the preceding the company is alleged to be technically insolvent maybe its demise is inevitable ,why are investors not coming to its rescue because its probably inevitable investors liken it to a dog with flees .I would never be happy if a single employee lost their job but as a people we should be realistic and learn to mitigate potential risk .Why not allow the major shareholder buy out the squabbling politicians out for a token $1 and give telecel international exception to the idigenisation law am sure they have the resources to recapitalize the broke entity -food for thought .

  4. Not even an indigenous investor would be foolish to invest in a company with chaotic shareholders such as Chiyangwa, Zhuwao, war vets etc

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