500 face retrenchment at “overstaffed” ZBC

via 500 face retrenchment at “overstaffed” ZBC | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda on Friday, December 6, 2013 

There is more drama reported to be brewing at Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster ZBC, with at least 500 workers facing retrenchment in what the state-run Herald newspaper described as a “restructuring exercise” meant to cut financial losses.

The news follows reports that workers at ZBC, which functions as a ZANU PF mouthpiece, have not been paid for over six months and the corporation is struggling with a $44.3 million debt.

According to the Herald, monthly revenue at ZBC is about $275,000, against a monthly budget of $2.3 million, with workers salaries taking up $1.6 million of that budget. That means employees are owed over $9 million.

News of the impending retrenchments follows a report to parliament by the Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, George Charamba, who on Thursday told the relevant Portfolio Committee that ZBC “was overstaffed”.

Charamba is quoted as saying out of “a thousand plus workers at the ZBC”, the number of those who are “really minding the core business” of the broadcasting “hardly goes beyond 500”.

“If you work out the equation, it tells you that for every reporter there are 50 or so support workers around him, meanwhile the reporter goes without services, which means ZBC has taken flesh in non-core areas,” Charamba told legislators.

Political commentator and former ZBC journalist Bekithemba Mhlanga agreed with Charamba that the public broadcaster is “overstaffed”, saying that this has been the case for the last three decades. He added that they need to attend to serious structural issues as well as incompetence.

“When I was working there in the 90s you could actually tell that there were too many drivers, too many secretaries, there were too many managers, too many assistants. Very few people were related to the core business of broadcasting,” Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa.

As for ZBC’s minimal revenue, Mhlanga said: “Everyone should be surprised because they have got a captive market for advertising which they have failed to tap very well. They put a poor product out there. Secondly they collect the license fee as well and they have done badly in that area.”

According to The Herald, Charamba said ZBC is “engaging government to assume” the millions owed. But this comes at a time when government claims to be broke and is still to pay out teachers’ Christmas bonuses, which were promised last month.

The broadcaster is currently under new management, brought in by newly appointed Minister for Information Jonathan Moyo, who dissolved the board of directors headed by Happison Muchechetere.

Charamba told the parliamentary committee that Muchechetere and general manager for finance, Retired Brigadier-General Elliot Kasu, were given the boot in order to facilitate an audit of ZBC, “without undue influence”.

But insiders have told SW Radio Africa that factionalism within ZANU PF, especially drama involving Jonathan Moyo and his history, was the reason they got rid of the entire board.



  • comment-avatar
    Diego Zhaba 8 years ago

    ZBC is a ZANU PF institution milking the government coffers at the tax payer’s expense.It’s not surprising that there could be ghost employees too.It has for decades not been run on business lines but as an institution to make money for some individuals. No business ethics applied here whatsoever. How come people budget for the money they don’t have when they are only making $275 000??? yet their budget runs into millions with salaries gobbling over 80%? This is how ZANU PF is and has been running the country. It defies logic and common sense.

    If ZBC cannot be run as a sustainable business entity on true business principles and ethics, then liquidation is the only option. ZANU PF control of all such institutions has led to them collapsing .Air Zimbabwe has lost it’s glory and many more have faced this calamity. We are a country in ruins though we brag of the Marange diamond which the guys are looting 24/7.

  • comment-avatar
    Dayford 8 years ago

    Typical example of how the economy has been brought down on its knees. Corrupt appointments in the civil service and parastatals. Wake up Zimbabwe, we cannot afford this leadership any longer.

  • comment-avatar
    Mr Mixed Race 8 years ago

    Economy is not something you fool around with for simple political gains.Let us wait and see how things resolve themselves.Those who have never worked for their salaries before will soon realise that politicians are cruel and dirty in their dealings.NEVER TRUST ANY POLITICIAN.

  • comment-avatar
    Dollar Power 8 years ago

    The Dollar is not planted in the garden of Eden. We planted them there expecting the rains, but hey the seeds are rooting in the ground.

  • comment-avatar
    Kitsi-yatota 8 years ago

    “with the President here at a UN Conference in New York, this is Rueben Barwe reporting for ZBC”

    “in the company of the President, my name is Judith Makwanya reporting from Bankok”

    “Josephine Toro, reporting for ZBC in Arusha, accompaning President Robert Gabriel Mugabe attending an African Union summit”

  • comment-avatar
    Kitsi-yatota 8 years ago

    some people are just crazy! how would you afford to continue working for 6 months without a salary…..i can smell sheddy things happening……worse this will come up……the following headlines are likely

    “zbc vehicle used as communiter omnibuses in the last 6 months”
    “zbc staff daily sign in registers frauds…….purporting staff to be at work while they were at their farms”
    ” zbc reporters clandestinely reported for nehanda radio station for 3 years while working for ZBC”
    “ZBC equipment sold without management approval, an audit of assets confirmed”
    “95% of ZBC staff traded on government secrets”

    and many more

  • comment-avatar

    It should read 900 ghost workers. Why George charamba supamandiwanzira mandiwanzira not yet doing hard Labour???

  • comment-avatar
    INJAYINJA 8 years ago

    After use no one treasures a condom anymore.These ZBC workers have been used and will soon be discarded. On a serious note, you can bring in the best Manager in the world to come and manage ZBC or any of the Zim parastetals, that Manager is bound to fail as long as Zanu pf has control. My advise to whoever is appointed GM/Chief Executive or whatever- please from day 1 quickly make your money so that when you are removed you will have acquired a lifetime serving.

  • comment-avatar
    INJAYINJA 8 years ago

    Former herdboys from the Zanu pf strongholds constitute 97% of the ZBC workforce. Most of them were asked by their uncles to abandon cattle in the villages and come to town to be given positions, including managerialposts at ZBC.As a result when you talk of Professionalism, it’s zero at ZBC.Jonathan has always known this and has to a large extent also contributed to the down fall of ZBC.