‘No exit pack­ages for coun­cil ex­ec­u­tives’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - In­no­cent Ruwende Harare Bu­reau

THE Govern­ment has or­dered lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to stop pay­ing exit pack­ages to ex­ec­u­tives and other em­ploy­ees leav­ing coun­cil ser­vice fol­low­ing out­ra­geous sev­er­ance de­mands and golden hand­shakes given to de­part­ing coun­cil ex­ec­u­tives.

Golden hand­shakes are con­trac­tual clauses mostly used to at­tract high qual­ity top ex­ec­u­tives who may be re­luc­tant to move from other com­pa­nies. The pack­age mostly in­cludes cash, eq­uity and lo­cally it may also in­volve ve­hi­cles used by the ex­ec­u­tives.

The hand­shakes have courted con­tro­versy as they are of­ten not per­for­mance-based and have no other con­di­tions at­tached to en­sure the ex­ec­u­tives work in the best in­ter­est of the em­ployer.

In an in­ter­view yes­ter­day, Lo­cal Govern­ment, Public Works and Na­tional Hous­ing per­ma­nent sec­re­tary Eng Ge­orge Mlilo said re­tir­ing or de­part­ing coun­cil em­ploy­ees should only be given their pen­sions at the Lo­cal Author­ity Pen­sion Fund while those who are dis­missed get only their con­tri­bu­tions from the fund. He said coun­cil of­fi­cials were be­ing awarded hefty re­tire­ment pack­ages that crip­pled ser­vice de­liv­ery.

Re­cently, Govern­ment blocked the pay­ment of a $300 000 golden hand­shake to out­go­ing Vic­to­ria Falls trea­surer, Mr Them­binkosi Khu­malo say­ing it would not al­low a sit­u­a­tion where coun­cil em­ploy­ees are be­com­ing richer than their em­ployer.

Speak­ing at a lun­cheon to mark the of­fi­cial open­ing of the 4th Ses­sion of 8th Par­lia­ment of Zim­babwe re­cently, Lo­cal Govern­ment, Public Works and Na­tional Hous­ing Min­is­ter Saviour Ka­sukuwere said lo­cal au­thor­i­ties were not char­ity or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“I have said to the per­ma­nent sec­re­tary, let us put our foot down im­me­di­ately. No! If you are re­tir­ing and have served the coun­try, thanks very much, you have served enough. We can­not pay you an­other $300 000. Peo­ple are get­ting much richer than the au­thor­i­ties them­selves. We need to change that trend and make sure that at the end of the day, ser­vices are given,” he said.

As part of his pack­age, Mr Khu­malo (60), who had served the mu­nic­i­pal­ity for 25 years, was also set to get a Toy­ota D4D dou­ble cab ve­hi­cle worth $35 000 which was bought in 2014, a laptop, and a cell­phone.

For­mer Harare town clerk Dr Tendai Ma­hachi last year made head­lines after de­mand­ing a hefty pack­age.

Dr Ma­hachi, who earned more than $27 000 monthly, wanted Harare coun­cil to pay him over $100 000 for ev­ery year served, among other ben­e­fits since he joined coun­cil in 2007.

He also wanted a coun­cil house, No 9A Lan­chaster Road, Belvedere and to be al­lowed to buy a com­mer­cial stand mea­sur­ing 6 400 square me­tres at the price equiv­a­lent to 33 per­cent of its mar­ket value.

How­ever, Harare of­fered Dr Ma­hachi a $150 000 re­tire­ment pack­age and an op­tion to buy his Toy­ota VX Land Cruiser at book value for his contribution and ser­vice to the city.

Eng Mlilo said golden hand­shakes were bleed­ing coun­cils, most of which were fail­ing to pro­vide ba­sic ser­vices to res­i­dents.

“That golden hand­shake has cost coun­cils an arm and leg. If two of­fi­cials leave in the same year, a coun­cil will be brought to a halt. Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have been con­tribut­ing to the LAPF. That is where their (ex­ec­u­tives’) money is. No coun­cil should pay any­thing on top. We are also seek­ing to sus­pend other ben­e­fits given to of­fi­cials.”

Eng Mlilo said perks such as hol­i­day al­lowances, which were given to coun­cil ex­ec­u­tives to cush­ion them dur­ing the hy­per­in­fla­tion­ary pe­riod, should no longer ap­ply.

Eng Ge­orge Mlilo

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