By Oliver Kazunga
BULAWAYO – The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has shortlisted five candidates from the Diaspora for the post of general manager.
The five candidates, all Zimbabweans based in South Africa, have been shortlisted for the general manager’s position through a consultancy agency after the 40 local candidates who had applied for the position early this year were all disqualified, board chair Alvord Mabena said yesterday.
The position has been vacant since August 2013 following the death of Retired Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai in a car accident.
Lewis Mukwada is the acting general manager.
Mabena said interviews for the shortlisted candidates would be conducted mid next month.
“The search for the suitable candidate to fill the position of general manager at NRZ has progressed very well. The employment agency has compiled a list of names in the Diaspora and there’re some good names,” he said.
“We went through the report of the employment agency and we’ve recommended the short listing of the five candidates for the interviews mid next month.”
Soon after the successful candidate has been selected, Mabena said, they would approach the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development for the government’s recommendation.
The ailing parastatal said it decided to cast its net wide to include the Diaspora as it wants to appoint the most qualified individual for the job.
The challenge for the general manager and board is to turn around the loss-making company.
The NRZ board has since appointed finance and operations directors at it moves to ensure the company is properly run.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Obert Mpofu has said the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) has agreed in principle to bail out NRZ with a $750 million loan facility to fund the rehabilitation of the parastatal’s infrastructure.
NRZ is facing a myriad of challenges emanating from lack of capital in the wake of ageing railway infrastructure, ballooning debts in the form of unpaid salaries and other creditors, skills flight and competition from haulage trucks.
Experts say delays in appointing a substantive general manager is affecting investor confidence in a company that has the potential to drive economic development and job creation, especially in Bulawayo. At its peak, NRZ used to be the largest employer with 15,000 workers. The Chronicle