By Tinashe Makichi and Fiona Chigwida
Labour and Public Service Minister Petronella Kagonye has said despite the shakeup at National Social Security Authority, which claimed the scalps of chairman Robin Vela and general manager Elizabeth Chitiga; she will, for now, maintain the remaining board members.
This comes as Minister Kagonye dismissed Mr Vela under controversial circumstances late last month while Mrs Chitiga received her dismissal letter last Friday.
NSSA finance director Emmerson Mungwariri is the acting general manager while Daphne Tomana is the acting chairperson.
Minister Kagonye said she will maintain the remaining board members led by acting chair Mrs Tomana until a new board chairman is appointed.
However despite the assurance, speculation that the board will soon be dissolved, continues to grow after Ministry board officials seconded to the institution were transferred to different Ministries under unclear circumstances.
Chaos also continues to reign at NSSA after acting GM Mr Mungwariri terminated the employment of David Makwara, director of investments, after he allegedly “failed” probation. Mr Makwara had joined the group in January 2018.
In a letter to Mr Makwara seen by The Herald Business, dated April 6, 2018 and copied to Mrs Tomana, Mr Mungwariri said Mr Makwara had not performed to expectation.
“Following my discussion with you on a review of your performance during your probation period, I am writing to advise that you have not performed to the expected level during the (probation) period.
“Your employment with NSSA is terminated with immediate effect.
“You will be paid terminal benefits inclusive of two weeks-notice pay in accordance with clause 15 of your employment contract as read together with provisions of the Labour Act.”
However, while acknowledging receipt of the letter, Mr Makwara said:
“Emmerson, I want to put (it) on record that you did not review me. You called me to advise me that there is a letter that I need to collect. In any case I did not report to you. As far as I am concerned, I am still to be reviewed by the general manager to whom I report to.”
While Mr Makwara could have given his response before he knew of Mrs Chitiga’s sacking, it is widely feared that NSSA could enter into another legal battle with an employee as was the case with former chief strategic assets officer, Chikuni Mutiswa. Mr Mutiswa’s employment was terminated after he refused an extension to his probation by a further three months.
Well-placed sources told this publication that the board and key management at NSSA were on the edge as they await the next move from the Minister. “The process to dissolve the board was initiated in the beginning of February. It’s only implementation that’s lacking but everyone is on the edge over the recent dismissals,” said the sources.
Minister Kagonye told Parliament yesterday that NSSA lost money in some investments but Government was going to make sure that the same scenario would not happen again.
NSSA has over $1 billion worth of assets under its management and while Mr Vela promised to be its knight in shining armour promising good corporate governance, transparency and well-thought out investments, he was soon caught up in an alleged web of deceit, dictatorship and mis-governance.
Mr Vela is alleged to have run the company as an executive chair, making his own investment decisions, disregarding the institution’s recommendations while it is widely believed that due process was not followed when Mrs Chitiga was employed as her CV was forwarded by authorities in higher offices then.
Mrs Tomana told this publication that she was not aware of what will happen at the institution going forward.
“I am not aware of what is going to happen going forward,” she said.