THE planned disposal of National Social Security Authority (Nssa) shares in First Mutual Life (FML) would be daylight robbery against workers and pensioners if allowed to proceed, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said.
The government is planning to sell 33.22% of Nssa’s 66.22% shares in FML to private investors as part of its insurance cluster consolidation strategy.
But the ZCTU alleges the move is designed to benefit a few politically connected elites who will be offered the shares for a song.
Peter Mutasa, the labour body’s president, claimed the government was now trying to elbow out the ZCTU from the Nssa board as they were opposed to the sale of the shares.
“The minister is running Nssa with his acolytes pretending to be a legally constituted board. We know the former board was dissolved to ensure that Nssa parcels out its assets to politically exposed persons at a song. This will be daylight robbery to the workers and those on pension. That is why we are resisting the sale of FML shares,” he said.
He said whether or not the ZCTU was part of the Nssa board, the labour movement would still fight to defend workers’ contributions from “looters”.
“We know the looters are circling around Nssa like vultures hovering over a carcass. They took Nssa ZB shares using board members who were not consulting their principals, now they want the most prized Nssa asset, FML, and all workers should stop them.”
And in what the ZCTU believes was the first step towards the disenfranchisement of workers from participating in the affairs of Nssa, presidential spokesperson George Charamba was quoted in an online publication as suggesting that the labour body no longer deserved a seat on the pension fund’s board.
Charamba claimed in the report that the ZCTU no longer controlled a huge chunk of the workforce because of structural changes in the economy brought about by what he termed the government’s deliberate policy to grow the informal sector.
He claimed the government now had the biggest number of workers in the formal sector that fell under the Apex Council, leaving the ZCTU with a depleted membership, acknowledging the government’s policies had contributed to the decline in formal employment.
But Mutasa said this was a ploy by the government to get the ZCTU out of the way so they could loot Nssa resources at the expense of workers and pensioners who contributed to the fund.
Mutasa said instead of celebrating the loss of formal jobs, the government should be ashamed and resign as it had destroyed the once robust economy and reduced it to a vendors’ economy.
“They have destroyed Julius Nyerere’s jewel of Africa. This economy was an envy of many with diversified manufacturing industries, including vehicle assembly.
However, successive years of mismanagement and looting by the same government have reduced it to an economy sustained by vending and gold panning,” Mutasa said.
“Instead of celebrating it as cheap political points against the ZCTU, the government must be ashamed and should resign,” he said.
Nssa has investments running into more than US$1 billion in various sectors such as property, insurance, hospitality and banking, making it one of the biggest local investors.