LABOUR minister Sekai Nzenza will soon appoint representatives from labour organisations to the National Social Security Authority board after initially excluding them, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
Nzenza appointed a new Nssa board earlier this year chaired by Cuthbert Chidoori. Other members are Priscilla Mujuru, Mfaro Moyo, Cecilia Alexander and Arthur Manase. None of the members on the board represent labour.
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions secretary general Kenias Shamuyarira told businessdigest on Wednesday that the minister would add representatives from labour organisations to the Nssa board within the next two weeks.
“There has been progress on the issue of board members to the Nssa board,” Shamuyarira said. “The minister will appoint one representative from the ZFTU, one representative from Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and also one representative from Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe. It now just needs approval from the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa).”
The ZCTU and the ZFTU were angered over the exclusion from the Nssa board, which is mandated to have a tripartite representation of government, business and labour.
The two labour bodies had even considered taking the matter to court. Shamuyarira said it is imperative that their representatives be appointed on the board to give workers a voice on the board. He expressed concern over government’s continued exclusion of labour in issues that concern workers.
“Government should recognize that labour is a critical stakeholder. Labour was not invited to the official opening of the Labour Court this week but we are strategic partners. Government should know they cannot go it alone,” Shamuyarira said.
This is not the first time that labour has been at odds with government over its representation on the Nssa board. ZCTU president Peter Mutasa was removed from the board in 2017 by then Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira for allegedly failing to advance the interests of Nssa by attacking the institution during meetings and in the media. He was also accused of failing to uphold confidentiality of board discussions. He was reinstated later that year when Patrick Zhuwao took over as Labour minister.
Nssa has investments in banking, insurance, hospitality and property sectors. Its investments have surpassed US$1 billion and are one of the few sources of liquidity in the market. This has made it a platform for contestation among various parties eyeing the cash rich fund.
The Nssa fund has always been a source of controversy with a number of senior managers being fired over mismanagement of funds and gross corruption. Nssa was created through the National Social Security Authority Act (Chapter 17:04) of 1989.
The legislation empowers the Minister of Labour and Social Services to establish a social security scheme for the provision of benefits to or in respect of all employees as may be specified in the notice and may in the like manner amend or abolish any such scheme.