1 Jun 2022
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) notes the move by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to investigate complaints of alleged malpractices, corruption, corporate governance failures at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).
While we have no qualms with the investigations, it is our considered view that the ministry is compromised and cannot be part and parcel of the investigations as it oversees the operations of NSSA. More so, it would have been prudent to dissolve the board and allow unfettered investigations into the goings on in NSSA.
For too long there have been reports of looting of funds at NSSA and this has been left unattended. For the record, ZCTU played an important role in the establishment of NSSA after realising that most ordinary workers had no comprehensive social security cover and there were no policies to protect workers during sickness, injuries at work, unemployment, invalidity, old age retirement and death. It was not easy to convince workers to accept the NSSA levy and in fact the ZCTU faced serious backlash from workers for supporting the principle of establishing NSSA. Even up to day some simply do not fully understand and appreciate the principle behind the establishment of NSSA and are still opposed to the idea.
NSSA should be playing a critical role in mobilising savings not only for payment of social security, but also for the economic development of Zimbabwe. However, over the years we have noticed with concern NSSA taking a bigger slant towards infrastructural investment than the payment of social benefits. It has heavily invested in real estate and today NSSA is arguably playing the role of a development bank more than a social security institution. In the process, however, some of the investments have been nugatory resulting in the loss of millions of workers and employers’ money.
Over the years, NSSA has been making losses as money was being thrown all around, with reports of billions of dollars lost through in questionable investments in loss making companies, sinking banks and some failed parastatals.
While bearing in mind reservations by some workers on the operations of NSSA, the ZCTU nevertheless believes that NSSA is still an important institution for the working people and the development of Zimbabwe’s economy. NSSA can play that role only if it extracts itself from the current murky way of doing things. NSSA is a tripartite institution and this set up should provide an oversight role over NSSA operations. But this has not been the case and recent reports show that all is not well amidst reports of lack of democracy and transparency in the operations of NSSA. Questions have been asked about the role of the board appointees from stakeholders and whether or not they have a right to report back to their constituencies what transpire at Board level. But as ZCTU we believe the rot at NSSA is now beyond the powers of the board and the General Manager. There might be other powerful political forces running NSSA affairs besides the board and General Manager.
We call upon the government to make sure that results of the probe into NSSA be made public in the spirit of transparency.
Runesu Dzimiri



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