By Alois Vinga
THE ZIMBABWE Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has criticised the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) for selling its entire shares to business tycoon, Kuda Tagwirei without involving workers in approving the transaction.
Reports published last Monday indicated that 57 million ZB Bank shares, worth over $1 billion, were traded on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) that same day in the morning and transferred to a Tagwirei linked company.
The shares were formerly held by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).
ZCTU has a board member in NSSA who represents the workers.
However, speaking to NewZimbabwe.com, the ZCTU president, Peter Mutasa said the labour organ was concerned over the shadowy manner in which the deal was sealed.
“While Tagwirei can buy whatever he wants and can, it is the manner that NSSA disposed of workers’ investment that is a big concern for labour,” he said.
“Firstly, NSSA management and the former management board never consulted trade unions as per our agreed position. In fact, the ZCTU raised the issue formally with NSSA’s former board chairman (Cuthbert Chidoori), and the general manager, who were quite evasive.”
The ZCTU leader said the sale was very secretive, not transparent, leaving room for manipulation and undue influence.
“It remains unclear due to the secrecy of the processes whether workers were not shortchanged. There is a view that this is yet another politically linked pillaging of national resources by the political elites. This is bad because NSSA resources are workers’ pensions,” he said.
Mutasa quizzed the rationale of disposing shares in a highly inflationary environment and further questioned the exact currency used in the acquisition of the shares.
“It is puzzling for workers who do not know whether there were no other buyers presenting a good offer. Suppose NSSA was paid in the local currency; one then wonders what NSSA will do with a billion RTGS in this environment? NSSA is not able to invest such an amount in another investment easily that may be comparable to this,” Mutasa said.
He said the deal stinks adding only until satisfactory answers are availed can these issues be put to rest.
“This deal must be investigated and challenged. Hopefully all workers and all unions will have an interest in protecting their lifetime savings,” added Mutasa.