THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has reportedly sent its northern region division operations manager on forced leave and grounded its entire fleet of 50 buses for at least three days due to recurring losses, NewsDay can reveal.
BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
Sources yesterday said the parastatal was failing to break even as well as meeting a mandatory 30% recapitalisation contribution deducted from gross revenue.
The sources said the buses were grounded last Friday before operations manager Jonathan Chandaengerwa was sent on forced leave just four months into his tenure.
Chandaengerwa yesterday confirmed he was not at work, but declined to give further details.
“At the moment I cannot talk to you. Contact (Farai) Runyowa, the public relations manager. I can only talk to you next week,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Runyowa said: “At this point, we are unable to comment on the matters that you have raised. Maybe later we will comment.”
Zupco chief executive officer Clifford Muwoni was also unreachable as he was said to be in a meeting.
Several workers at the State-owned bus company have reportedly been sent on forced leave over a litany of allegations.
“It has been happening for some time (forced unpaid leave). The challenges only seem to affect the northern region. Now they have sent the division’s operations manager on forced leave just four months into his tenure due to viability challenges, but there is more to it,” one worker who refused to be named said.
“The buses are supposed to bank 30% of their gross revenue as recapitalisation, then raise money for fuel, but they have been failing due to the competition on the roads as well as constant breakdowns.”
The workers said several other buses had also been grounded due to lack of spare parts.
They also claimed that at one time they received 30% of their salaries as the company cited cashflow problems, but were shocked when managers allegedly bought themselves top-of-the-range vehicles.
“There are about four Foton double cabs valued at $37 950 each, the last of which was delivered on Monday, reportedly for the company secretary, while a $10 000 generator was purchased for the Willowvale depot,” the source said.
“This is coming at a time when the workers are being paid according to the revenue generated and about 31 buses are stuck at a bonded warehouse as the company is failing to raise duty.”