War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube is pushing for the Zimbabwe Ex-Combatants (Zexcom) Foundation Investment Fund to be removed from judicial management so it is handed back to the control of the former freedom fighters.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Dube yesterday said it was sad that the company, which could have transformed the lives of the ex-combatants currently wallowing in poverty, was being reduced to a shell.
“We are aware of the problems surrounding that company and, as a ministry, we believe that it should be handed back to the owners, who are ex-combatants. That company had the potential to transform the lives of war veterans and if they are given control they can still change their lives,” he said.
War veterans are currently living on pensions ranging from $100 to $200 per month depending on their ranks during the liberation struggle.
Government also pays school fees for their dependants, but has over the years struggled to meet its bill, which has ballooned to $37 million.
Dube said in the face of financial challenges being faced by the government, Zexcom would have been the ideal vehicle to lift the war veterans out of poverty and dependency on the fiscus.
Zexcom Investment Fund Limited was formed in 1998 after 4 388 ex-combatants pooled their resources together and established the company.
In 2001, there were squabbles within the management, which spilled into the courts, leading to the company being placed under judicial management, with Barbra Lunga being appointed the provisional judicial manager.
But Zexcom members contend that Lunga ran down the company, stripping it of most of its assets, while denying shareholders rental benefits accrued from its properties.
Zexcom members have since written to President Robert Mugabe asking him to remove Lunga and help return the company to them.