Mega-buck Zinara fails to pay workers

The Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara) is failing to pay salaries and struggling to maintain its roads maintenance program due to lack of funds.


Yet it has raked in $78 million from tollgate revenue since 2009, when the road tolling system started. In Mashonaland East province, which stretches from Chikomba to Mudzi, nine units of road workers with an average of 11 men each were sent home last month until further notice.

The other nine provinces are also reportedly affected, meaning that over 1, 000 workers are failing to get their monthly dues. According to some of the workers who approached this newspaper, only security guards, clerks and supervisors employed in the road maintenance department under the Ministry of Transport have been spared.

“Our working conditions are characterised by regular stoppages whenever Zinara runs out of resources and we are only re-engaged when the situation improves,” said one of the workers. They earn an average $356 per month and Zinara owes them thousands of dollars in salary arrears.

Economic constraints forced Zinara to temporarily rest the workers last year in September and they resumed in January 2014.

From March 7, 2014 to date, the workers have been at home again as ‘Zinara told us it had run out of fuel and equipment to maintain roads’.

Zinara officials are suspected to be engaging in corrupt practices prejudicing government of millions of dollars.

A recent audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General revealed that the roads authority failed to account for $6 million dollars meant for the Roads and Road Traffic Fund, to provide tools and equipment for road construction and maintenance in 2011.

Zinara Chief Executive Officer, Frank Chitukutuku, was fingered in a $2 million scam involving awarding of a road maintenance tender in Umguza, Matabeleland North. Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officers recently raided Zinara offices twice, amid reports that the top officials were under surveillance.

Several other Zinara tollgate cashiers are under police investigation for fraud. Minister of Transport, Obert Mpofu, said he was too busy to comment and efforts to get comment from official spokesperson Augustine Moyo were fruitless.

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