Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board said it will soon review the system of appointment of managers to various boards of the parastatals extended administrations.
The extended administrations include Road Motor Services (RMS), Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway (BBR) in which NRZ owns 15 percent interest, RailMed, Emerged Railway Properties (ERP) and the NRZ Pension Fund.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joe Biggie Matiza has directed NRZ board, which is chaired by Advocate Martin Dinha to expedite the restructuring of the parastatal. According to internal sources privy to the matter, Government is contemplating abolishing the system of appointing NRZ managers as board members of the extended administrations.
Extended administrations such as RailMed and RMS are facing challenges hence the Government’s decision to restructure the entire NRZ.
“If you go there (RailMed pharmacies), there is nothing in terms of medicine yet workers are contributing to the fund every month” said a worker.
Last year NRZ held its stakeholder meeting in Matopo where the railway parastatal was expected to come up with a strategic plan in line with the thrust and objectives of Government.
The stakeholder meeting was organised by NRZ director for corporate services Mr Misheck Matanhire who is also the chairman for ERP.
ERP owns the Pan-African Minerals Development Corporation, a joint venture project between Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa and the firm has vast deposits of gold and diamond largely in South Africa.
In an interview, Adv Dinha said as directed by Minister Matiza they would look at restructuring NRZ within the stipulated time frame.
“We are going to look into this concern and interrogate whether or not NRZ management should sit and represent NRZ in these boards.
“Matters of conflict of interest and effective representation arise from such representations,” he said.
Minister Matiza has directed NRZ board to restructure management and bring in “fresh blood” as part of the parastatal’s broader strategy to turnaround the ailing railway operator.
He said they would interrogate board representations by NRZ management to ensure the managers are not distracted from their day-to- day management duties.
“We will engage and review this as we undertake the management restructuring exercise that Government has ordered,” he said.
Last year, the Government cancelled a US$400 million recapitalisation deal NRZ had entered into with the Diaspora Infrastructural Development Group/Transnet consortium.
As part of the interim solution to NRZ challenges, the parastatal was leasing 200 wagons and 13 locomotives from Transnet. — @okazunga.