30 November 2017
President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
Attention H.E. Comrade. E.D. Mnangagwa
RE: STATE OF AFFAIRS AT THE ZIMBABWE ELECTRITY SUPPLY AUTHORITY (ZESA) GROUP OF COMPANIES AND THE WORKERS’ CONCERNS.
The above matter refers.
We write as a trade union organization representing over 4000 of about 6000 workers employed within the ZESA Group of companies which is constituted by ZESA Holdings, ZESA Enterprises (ZENT), Powertel, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).
Our main intention in writing to your esteemed office, His Excellency, is to bring to your attention the sad situation prevailing within one of the nation’s most strategic parastatals, which if allowed to continue, may negatively affect your very noble and patriotic intentions to re-rail our national economy for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.
ZESA, as headed by Engineer Josh Chifamba and the numerous Managing Directors in the respective subsidiaries, has been on a downward trend in terms of its operations mainly due to poor corporate governance over the years characterized by poor business decisions, worker leadership victimization and an antagonistic human resources policy characterized by wanton disregard of collective bargaining agreements and court decisions.
Our first issue of concern is a matter on which we once wrote to your office then as Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, sometime this year. It is the continued victimization of our union President, Mrs. A. Chitambo who had been dismissed for purely playing her role as leader of the workers. The union contested her dismissal through the courts resulting in the dismissal being declared unlawful and ZESA being ordered to reinstate her unconditionally by the Labour Court of Zimbabwe.
ZESA Management has over the years stubbornly refused to reinstate Mrs. Chitambo obviously with the aim to frustrate her, weaken the union and also create despondence within the membership. All our members wish to have our President reinstated and they recently reelected her to lead the union as an expression of their confidence in her leadership of the union. Mrs. Chitambo’s dismissal, despite a court order for her reinstatement, is a serious cause of disaffection within the ZESA employees who clearly see her as a victim of the Management’s intolerance to trade unionism.
The Management and the then Ministry of Energy and Power Development have disregarded pleas from the international trade union community as well as the IndustriALL Global Union to have our President reinstated. The International Labour Organization, (ILO) has also weighed in to no avail.
The second issue relates to ZESA’s disregard to Collective Bargaining Agreements. The Management has willfully disregarded a salary increment agreement made in 2012 (Statutory Instrument 50 of 2012) at the National Employment Council.
The abovementioned scenario has caused serious disillusionment within the workforce causing low morale levels and a negative impact on productivity. So much time and financial resources have been wasted by the Management hiring lawyers to resist implementation of an agreement that they signed voluntarily in 2012.
It is also most disappointing that, whilst the Management is refusing to pay employees their due salaries as per the agreement, they are engaging in acts of self-aggrandizement by buying themselves expensive motor vehicles and drawing hefty salary perks.
The third worrying issue relates to the Management’s (including the Board) questionable decision making when it comes to awarding of tenders. Over the years, as the union, we have queried some decisions made in particular the awarding of critical works to dubious and notorious convicts whose technical knowhow or capacity in electricity generation and distribution has no traceable credible history.
The foregoing has resulted in serious bleeding of financial resources from the Group and suffocation of national development through, stalling of projects, astronomical costs on projects, substandard work and in some cases rampant corruption.
His Excellency, we fear, firstly as worker representatives and secondly, patriotic Zimbabweans, that the nation is being seriously short changed by this self- centred clique in Management. The people of Zimbabwe deserve better quality service from ZESA as it is their right.
In conclusion we thus respectfully implore, H.E. that your office intervenes and attends to the above three areas we have raised as, indeed, we have no other recourse given the level of intransigence that our Management team (and the Board) has exhibited over the years. We are also prepared, should it be deemed necessary, to testify and elaborate on the issues raised herein, at any time.
For any clarifications please kindly liaise with the undersigned.
Cc. Engineer J. Chifamba
For your information, Sir.