via Moyo losing patience with ZBC management Staff Reporter NewZimbabwe
INFORMATION and Broadcasting Services Minister Jonathan Moyo has accused the ZBC board and management of failing in their duty to seek ways of improving the welfare of workers, amid reports employees are unpaid in five months.
Moyo said since his appointment on September 10, he had not received any representations from either the management at the state-owned broadcaster or the workers about the financial problems.
“We’re grateful to the newspapers for reporting these matters, but the problems will not be solved through the press. They will require responsible authorities at ZBC to attend to them. If they’re not willing to attend to them, then it is our duty to move in and deal with that situation,” Moyo told New Zimbabwe.com on Wednesday, in a clear signal that he has no confidence in the current ZBC management team.
ZBC employees are failing to meet “day-to-day needs of their families like paying rentals, school fees and buying food” after going for months without pay, the opposition MDC-T said on Tuesday.
“As a labour-backed party, the MDC condemns the non-payment of salaries to the abused staff members at the ZBC and demands that they should be paid a living wage urgently while improving their working conditions,” the party said in a statement.
ZBC employees accuse top managers of paying themselves US$20,000 monthly salaries and buying luxury cars.
The MDC-T, which has previously railed against the ZBC’s TV monopoly, said the poor remuneration of ZBC workers was now affecting the quality of programming.
“Because we appreciate the importance of a satisfied employee, we sympathise with the workers whose non-payment of salaries is not only affecting the employees and their immediate families, but the entire nation which is being starved of proper information, education and entertainment due to low output as staff members at the country’s sole State broadcaster are disgruntled,” the party added.
But Moyo told New Zimbabwe.com the MDC-T was most culpable for ZBC’s problems after failing to provide funding for the broadcaster in the budget through its secretary general Tendai Biti, who was Finance Minister until August 21.
“Throughout his tenure, Biti did not allocate a cent, let alone a dollar, to address the problems that the newspapers have been highlighting about the plight of workers at ZBC,” Moyo said.
“These problems became particularly acute during the life of the unity government and according to the newspapers, some of the workers have not been paid for five months. It is instructive that the MDC-T has become aware of the plight of these workers after leaving government on August 21, and this kind of hypocrisy from the MDC-T – which is clearly out of depth and beleaguered and looking for anything that can give it mileage now that it’s running on empty – does not help the problems that are being reported.”
The minister said he recognised the problems at the ZBC were “very serious as reported by the newspapers”, adding: “What the newspapers have reported paints a sorry and serious state of affairs that needs attention.
“However, we have not received as a ministry anything from the ZBC board, management and indeed workers. Nothing! It sounds like the MDC-T knows more about that situation than we do.”