by MOSES MATENGA
TRANSPORT and Infrastructural Development minister Joel Biggie Matiza has thrown suffering Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) workers under the bus and defended mass resignations that have rocked the parastatal under his watch.
Matiza said he was not moved by the chaos at the company triggered by mass resignations of senior personnel.
He chose to describe the developments as a cleansing process at the parastatal despite alleged irregularities in the manner workers’ disciplinary cases were being handled.
The minister has been accused of being part of the chaos that has hit Zinara and has seen his board interfering with operations and victimising workers allegedly to remove long-serving ones and replace them with people linked to him and the board chairman, Michael Madanha.
Madanha is Matiza’s deputy in the Zanu PF Mashonaland East structures and the two are accused of wanting to use Zinara to consolidate their power base in the province.
“Zinara was burdened with corruption and when the new dispensation came in it meant to correct things and that is what is happening. If people are resigning, it is fine, it is their right to do so and we take on board those who want to work with us,” Matiza said.
On allegations that his board was victimising workers and was keen to push out long-serving employees and replace them with their cronies, Matiza said: “It is a process of renewal at Zinara, people have been arrested and some are in court and it is a process and before year end, we must come to stabilisation.”
Madanha lost to recently appointed Youth deputy minister Tinoda Machakaire in the Zanu PF Hwedza South primary elections and has served as Matiza’s deputy in government before.
“The workers are going through processes not linked to the minister. I appoint people on boards based on merit and I believe the chairman is very well qualified. You are saying things about him being my deputy in the party. That is not the issue, we are talking of merit,” Matiza said.
“From these resignations, you can see there is a problem and he is solving the problem.”
However, worker representatives alleged Zinara management has failed to prove some allegations of fraud by workers with a committee constituted to deal with the charges exonerating them of any wrongdoing. It emerged that after finding most of the accused persons not guilty and recommending their reinstatement, Zinara acting chief executive officer, Saston Muzenda allegedly said the committee should find them guilty and recommend their dismissal.
Muzenda argued in one of the letters that the move was a directive from the board; a position frowned upon by the workers.
Zinara workers told NewsDay morale was very low at the parastatal and more resignations were coming.
At least 12 senior executives in the finance and tolling division, audit, ICT, administration and other departments tendered their resignations this week.