TECHNICALLY insolvent National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) incurred a loss of ZW$1.7 billion (approximately US$14.8 million) last year, prompting the parastatal’s general manager to threaten to fire all employees who fail to meet set targets this year.
In her staff address dated 24 January 2022 titled GM Candid Talk, NRZ general manager Respina Zinyanduko read the riot act, threatening even to apprehend workers found loitering in town during company time.
“Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority) is owed ZW$400m, pension fund ZW$600m (and) Railmed is owed big time too. NRZ is technically insolvent,” she said in an address leaked to The NewsHawks.
“2022 is a turnaround year by you and me, with a 3.9 million tonnes target to achieve. Not easy but achievable. Non-team players are free to resign. So far, January performance is way below the target, this last week we achieved ZW$98 million against a target of ZW$185 million against wage bill of ZW$165 million.”
In 2021, according to state media, the railway company transported 2.191 million tonnes of cargo against a target of three million tonnes.
“We have to give each other targets and failure to meet them shall be dealt with decisively: A warning first, followed by an interview then, finally, dismissal. Supervisors must supervise their subordinates. Manage the production time, stop late starts, the late comer must not go scot free,” Zinyanduko added.
The NRZ boss said there was too much malingering, as at any given time there were many company workers in town doing all sorts of private business at the parastatal’s expense.
“This just has to stop henceforth. Our security has been mandated to apprehend such found loitering in town and the supervisor too will be taken to task,” she said.
“You succeed together, you fail together, operate as a team, not as silos, team up. Target quick wagon turnaround, provide reliable locomotives, account for every failure, assess progress frequently and take decisive corrective action.”
Zinyanduko said workers should cut on overtime and relief, pointing out that in November last year, overtime was at whopping ZW$62 million.
Employees must consider taking time off for overtime worked, she said. On train derailments, the general manager said these were milking the company dry, urging drivers to observe set cautions.
“Control your bills, be concerned (with) your Zesa (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority) or water bills. Stop all financial leakages. Clean your work areas, for yourselves by yourselves,” she said. On lost tools, she said the culprits would be penalised at three times the cost of the lost tool.
“If as a supervisor you chose to shield non-performers, fine, but at your own peril,” she warned.