ZESA Holdings has been hit by a major staff exodus in the past 18 months with the majority of top management and skilled labour force leaving for regional power utilities. Senior executives have joined power companies in the United Kingdom and Australia. Zesa is now understaffed in key areas like distribution and transmission.
Experts said this is why the utility is taking so long to respond to the national power outages. Zesaâ€™s two control centres in Harare and Bulawayo are also understaffed.
The remaining artisans have to make do with dilapidated equipment and a strained budget.
“The people at control centres are not adequate in terms of both numbers and skills. They failed to control the load and this resulted in the grid collapsing,” said a senior official at Zesa.
It is understood that 25 of the 28 executive level managers to emerge from Zesaâ€™s unbundling exercise have left the utility since June 2006.
Another 227 members of a senior management staff complement of 312 have taken up other positions outside the utility.
Businessdigest understands that some of the employees left during a voluntary retrenchment exercise that was recommended to Zesa by the Energy and Power Development minister Mike Nyambuya in June 2006.
The largest number is reported to have joined South African power utility, Eskom, while a sizeable number joined Namibiaâ€™s NamPower. Others have joined the Botswana Power Company (BPC) and Mozambiqueâ€™s Hidroelectrica Cahora Bassa (HCB).
The United Kingdomâ€™s power generation utility, National Power has amongst its staff 22 ex-Zesa employees. The South of Scotland Distribution Board has eight ex-Zesa staff. More than 50 skilled ex-Zesa staff left for Australia where they have since taken up jobs in the electricity industry.
Zesa was unbundled into Zesa Holdings and five subsidiaries which are the Zimbabwe Power Company, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company (Zetco), the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC), Powertel and Zesa Enterprises.
Those that opted for voluntary retrenchment include group operations director Engineer Cletus Nyachowe, group corporate affairs director Fortune Sambo, and general manager for corporate communications, James Maridadi.
Zetco managing director, Engi-neer Edward Rugoyi, joined BPC while transmission director Carston Muzangazi left for the UK together with finance director, Amos Pasinawako. Zetco also lost its business development director, Steve Dhiwa.
The ZEDC lost its commercial director Engineer Mike Gambe and operations director, Peter Simoyi. The financial director, Fidelia Gandia, also resigned.
Muzangazi, Pasinawako, Gambe, and Simoyi are now based in the UK at National Power. Gandia has joined a non-governmental organisation with Maridadi now working for a regional transport company.
The ZPCâ€™s operations director Misheck Siyakachana opted for voluntary retrenchment together with finance director Godknows Hofisi who is now with the
Efforts to get comment from Zesa Holdings chief executive officer Ben Rafemoyo proved fruitless. Rafemoyo promised to respond to businessdigest but did not do so with his office later revealing he had left for a regional power conference together with Nyambuya.
Zesaâ€™s total staff complement stood at 5 831 as of June 2006.–Kuda Chikwanda