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US$10k bill haunts ZBC executives

ZBC workers’ council wrote a memorandum dated November 6, 2023 to the company executives complaining about the loss of funds by the public broadcaster through legal fees.

The troubled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) spent about US$10 000 in an attempt to recover US$900 from two employees in a case that has riled its employees who accuse the corporation’s management of neglecting their welfare.

The State broadcaster was trying to recover a motorbike valued at US$800 and 82.49 litres of fuel worth US$143.5326, which is US$943.5326 in total from two employees Sebastian Mukono and Tawanda Mandeya.

ZBC used a top law firm to institute disciplinary proceedings against the duo and it was  billed  more than US$9000 for the legal services.

One of the employees, Tawanda Mandeya, has since been acquitted of the offence after a full disciplinary hearing, according to documents seen by this publication.

ZBC workers’ council wrote a memorandum dated November 6, 2023 to the company executives complaining about the loss of funds by the public broadcaster through legal fees.

The employees quizzed why the company preferred external legal services instead of using the internal legal department to resolve some of the issues.  

“The HR [human resource] and the corporate departments should discharge their responsibilities diligently so that the corporation cannot lose revenue in these cases,” the memo reads.

“When we consider the simple logic without going into the merits of the case, how do we recover the lost property without going for an external lawyer?

“How is ZBC going to recover US$9000,  which has gone down the drain?

“How much more is the company losing through these dubious legal shenanigans?  What is the purpose of the legal and HR department at ZBC then?.”

This publication heard that the public broadcaster appealed against the acquittal of the employee using the legal services of the same law firm, but the employees said this was contrary to section 20 of the ZBC code of conduct.

“The disciplinary committee represents the HR or the company (ZBC), which means disciplinary committee ruling cannot be appealed against by the company.

“It’s like the company is appealing against itself,” a source within ZBC said.

 “It gives a chance to an aggrieved employee to appeal to the HR if the employee is not happy with the disciplinary hearing outcome.

“ Section 20.13 of the ZBC code of conduct allows both parties to appeal to the labour officer if one of the parties is not happy with the outcome from the Appeals Committee.”

ZBC workers and the administration led by Adlaide Chikunguru have been on each other’s neck for a while

Two weeks ago, the workers wrote to the newly appointed board led by Helliate Rushwaya threatening job action over poor salaries and working conditions.

Chikunguru  and her administration  last week wrote to this publication demanding retraction of a story that exposed the infighting.

Through their lawyers Mushoriwa-Pasi Attorneys, the ZBC executives said the allegation by the corporation’s workers that they were frustrating efforts to improve their working conditions were false and defamatory.

Chikunguru was not reachable for comment yesterday despite repeated efforts to contact her on her mobile phone.

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