By Adelaide Moyo
Labour minister Sekai Nzenza says National Social Security Authority (Nssa) investments director David Makwara’s dismissal was irregular and exposed the pensions authority to unnecessary legal action.
The minister’s statements follow a dramatic week and chain of events in which the ex-Trust Bank executive was appointed acting chief executive — two days after he had been reinstated.
“I have been briefed about the legal case involving David Makwara, whose contract was terminated through a board resolution passed on March 29, 2018. The manner in which the matter was handled was irregular and exposes both the authority and myself as the minister responsible for Labour,” Nzenza said in documents seen by The Financial Gazette.
She then ordered Nssa to pay him his benefits since the time of his ouster in April this year.
“I have appointed Makwara as acting chief executive officer (CEO) for Nssa. This is a temporary role while I head-hunt for a new CEO,” Nzenza said.
The highly-rated executive’s contract had been terminated for reportedly “failing his probation” in March 2018, although many believe he was one of former Labour minister Petronella Kagonye’s casualties and in her bid to cleanse Nssa of Robin Vela’s presumed allies.
Makwara’s return also comes as the State-run institution faces a huge credibility test over its handling of the $16 million Housing Corporation of Zimbabwe (HCZ) performance guarantee-demand from Zimnat Lion Insurance Company and appointment of senior executives at the National Building Society.
Recently, government dismissed Daphne Tomana’s Nssa board with immediate effect, after its tenure lapsed in June.
“The ministry … has dissolved the Nssa board of directors with immediate effect, a board that had served its statutory three-year tenure ending June 30, 2018,” Nzenza said.
“The tenure of the board had been extended to date, pending appointment of a new board … Nssa now needs a new board that will work towards the growth and achievement of the new mandate within the given time frames.”
Over the past few years, the cash-rich entity has a huge turnover of staff and key executives — occasioned by endless political interference.
On the other hand, the portfolio has had four ministers — Patrick Zhuwao, Prisca Mupfumira, Kagonye and Nzenza — in less than fourteen months.
Despite his bold steps to turnaround Nssa’s fortunes through far-reaching reforms and a reorientation of its investment strategy, Vela was pushed out after a series of nasty allegations including charges of colluding with the foreign-owned real estate developer.
Thus, HCZ managers and directors are facing criminal charges, which have sparked a series of disputes related the delivery of 8 000 houses wanted by the latter.
While Goodson Nguni’s Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission investigations desk has trained its guns on Stephen Duggan’s company, Mungwariri’s Nssa had also lurched onto these allegations and awry turn of events to annul its contract with the latter.
But HCZ has temporarily managed to ease its woes — through a prohibitive order by High Court judge Esther Muremba to ensure that the compulsory pensions fund does not seek to revoke the Caledonia performance bond with Zimnat until the matters are finalised at the Harare commercial arbitration centre. — The Financial Gazette