ZIMBABWE Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Peter Mutasa is facing a vote-of-no-confidence at the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) board amid accusations that he has been leaking confidential information to the labour union’s senior officials and to the media.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
A source in the Labour Ministry yesterday said following Nssa’s stakeholder briefing two weeks ago, at which it became clear that senior ZCTU officials had substantial information about the goings-on inside Nssa — including confidential deliberations and reports — sparking off a conflict between the social authority board members and Mutasa.
Mutasa is also at loggerheads with the Nssa board over some of the authority’s investment decisions, particularly the acquisition of mobile operator Telecel Zimbabwe.
Nssa provided US$30 million towards the purchase of a 60% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe from Dutch-based Global Telecom Holding, a VimpleCom subsidiary.
However, the Nssa management and board rejected Mutasa’s complaint, saying investing US$30 million and getting back US$43 million, a US$13 million return, cannot be said to be a poor investment, particularly in an environment characterised by a severe liquidity crunch and acute cash crisis.
Nssa officials have said they are not only happy with the return on investment on the Telecel deal, but also on other deals the authority has entered into.
Sources in the Labour Ministry and Nssa said while the authority represents different interests — government, workers and pensioners — it is important that stakeholders act in terms of the law and the code of conduct to avoid prejudicing their constituencies.
“We appreciate that the Nssa board represents different stakeholders and thus diverse views on various issues, but we must always act within the law, our code of conduct and in the interests of all our stakeholders,” the source said.
“The board must work as a collective and this means debating issues internally and coming up with resolutions. We must pull in the same direction. We must not engage in unethical practices such as leaking confidential information to outsiders, breaching our code of conduct with impunity.
“Mutasa has been doing this and some board members now feel he must be subjected to a vote-of-no-confidence. This is not a personal issue, but a corporate governance matter and a subject of trust and confidence.”
Contacted for comment, Mutasa said he was ready to defend himself against such allegations.
“I am also hearing about that (vote-of-no-confidence) from informal channels. If it is true, I am more than happy to defend myself before any fora,” Mutasa said. “I believe I am a trustee and seconded to the board by a constituency that should get regular feedback about the goings-on at Nssa.”
He added: “The contributors should also be effectively consulted and be allowed to participate in the decision-making processes through their appointed trustees. If that amounts to leaking information, then we need to redefine what Nssa is and who the stakeholders are.”