By Patrick Chitumba
About 10 National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees have been hauled before an internal disciplinary committee after a wagon loaded with brake blocks allegedly disappeared in Gweru prejudicing the company of US$50 000.
The disappearance of the load of brake blocks — which are mainly used in the oil industry services to equip the brake bands of drawworks, air clutches of different drilling rigs and other equipment —sources said, is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to corruption taking place at NRZ.
According to sources in NRZ, the 10 employees from Gweru include an engine man, shunters and some employees in the accounts department.
Their luck ran out when it was allegedly discovered that a wagon full of brake blocks was missing after it didn’t reach the intended destination.
NRZ spokesperson Mr Nyasha Maravanyika confirmed the development saying NRZ had been prejudiced of US$50 000.
“It is a process that is ongoing and it is difficult for me to give you the actual number (of implicated employees) as investigations are still ongoing.
“The NRZ is going through its internal processes of instituting discipline and attending to workers’ grievances just like any other organisation and there is really nothing amiss about these processes,” said Mr Maravanyika.
He said the processes are taking place in all our areas which are Southern (Bulawayo), Midlands (Gweru) and Eastern (Harare).
“In Gweru there is a case of a wagon loaded with brake blocks that went missing last year in October (2020). I said it was a wagon loaded with worn out brake blocks (regarded as scrap material) and new two holed brake blocks which went missing. The loaded wagon was supposed to go to Bulawayo Foundry workshop. The value of the brake blocks is US$50 000,” said Mr Maravanyika.
Operational challenges facing NRZ have crippled viability of several downstream companies across the country.
Customers, mostly in industry and commerce, are concerned about the deterioration in the quality of service delivery with some opting to use road transportation.
The major complaint has been that the NRZ was short-changing its customers as a result of poor turnaround times for freight and passenger trains.
Some goods like in this case- the brake block- don’t reach the intended client costing NRZ thousands of dollars and results in a bad image. The Chronicle