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Heads to roll at Zesa

TINASHE MAKICHI

Some top Zesa executives are set to lose their jobs when the power utility rebundles its units as the board targets a lean structure. This will see the power utility not renewing expiring contracts for the executives.

Government has approved the amalgamation of Zesa units into a single entity to create a lean structure. Zesa was in 2006 unbundled into four entities — Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), Zimbabwe Power Company, Powertel Communications and Zesa Enterprises.

Each unit had its own executive management, staff and board of directors. The current restructuring at Zesa, however, will entail nonrenewal of contracts for some top executives whose roles will be deemed redundant. Information gathered shows that former acting chief executive Patrick Chivaura’s contract will not be renewed under the current move.

Chivaura refused to comment while Zesa executive chairman Sydney Gata could not be reached for comment. The current structure has been viewed as untenable as it significantly added to the power utility’s wage bill without any increase in efficiency.

A well-placed source told Business Times that a restructuring exercise is looming which will see top executives leaving the company. “There is a new sheriff in town and he is currently assessing the current structure and looking at setting up his own team,” said the source.

The decision to rebundle Zesa about two years ago was meant to eliminate the inefficiencies largely resulting from duplication of roles. However, the current Zesa structure is said to have precipitated a spate of corruption allegations and gross misconduct which have been levelled against the group in the past five years.

Apart from irregularities in terms of operations, Zesa subsidiaries have allegedly been involved in tender scams and gross irregularities involving billions of dollars.

Corporate governance deficit has been noted at Zesa units after former Zesa chief executive Josh Chifamba led the board of ZETDC from 2015 until he was fired last year.

The arrangement was said to be a breach of good corporate governance practices. According to corporate governance experts, ZEDTC presented an interesting case study of a corporate governance violation.

The ZETDC board led by John Mvundura had been dissolved in 2015 and replaced by a management board led by Chifamba and deputised by group chief finance Eliab Chikwenhere.

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