Minister fires NSSA boss Vela

Labour and Social Services minister Petronella Kagonye yesterday wielded the axe on National Social Security Authority (NSSA) board chairman, Robin Vela, citing a clause that forbids the appointment of a non-resident Zimbabwean on the board of the pay as you go pension scheme.


Vela was appointed NSSA board chairman in 2015 when Prisca Mupfumira was in charge of the then ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

In a letter dated March 27 Kagonye said, “Acting in terms of the National Social Security Authority Act Chapter 17:04 section 8(a), I wish to advise that you have been withdrawn as member and chairman of the NSSA board with immediate effect.”

Section 8(a) of the National Social Security Authority Act states a person cannot be appointed to the board of the authority if he or she is not ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.

Vela was appointed as board chairman in July 2015 to clean up the mess at NSSA.

In a statement yesterday, Vela said he is resident in Zimbabwe, holds a Zimbabwean passport, “my kids attend school here, my wife resides in this country and I have businesses that I run from here”.

He said when Norton legislator Temba Mliswa accused him of holding a foreign passport; he dismissed it as social media banter and never envisaged “this being taken seriously by anyone, as the status of my residence, let alone citizenship, can be easily verified”.

Vela said he looked back with pride at what the NSSA board achieved during his tenure, which saw a restructuring at the authority and adherence to strict corporate governance practices.

“During my tenure as NSSA board chairman, the authority made significant achievements as reflected by the financial growth in surplus of 638% from $19,5 million in 2015 to $144,2 million in 2017. The growth in surplus was achieved through a tight management of operating costs,” he said.

“Over the same period, the authority saw a reduction in operating costs of 18% from $87,8 million to $72,4 million and experienced a growth in investment income of 137% from $22,8 million to just over $54 million in 2017. Over the same period the Fund’s total assets grew by 50% from $917 million to $1,4 billion.”

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