In what has been widely criticized as heartlessness on the part of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s controversy-ridden South African ally and business magnet Zunaid Moti, 300 retrenched staffers at his Kwekwe-based African Chrome Fields (ACF) are set to pocket a shy ZWL$500 (roughly equivalent to US$10) in exit packages.
Moti, who at one time hogged the media limelight for all the wrong reasons following reports that he was bent on destabilising the Sadc region through financing opposition parties which included Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance, to depose elected governments, was co-running ACF with equally controversial Zanu PF benefactor and Sakunda Holdings owner Kudakwashe Tagwirei.
Aggrieved workers said in a report seen by Kwekwe-based tabloid midlandsnews, that their main concern was that the tabled retrenchment packages were pegged in accordance with the 2019 foreign exchange rates, albeit a runaway inflation which has since rendered the local currency markedly impotent on both the parallel and official market.
The workers are now asking their former employer to review the retrenchment packages in light of the 2020 foreign currency exchange rates.
“They want 300 workers to be retrenched, with that offer, but the Workers committee is rejecting the offer, we want the 2020 current rates which we think (sic) grade 1 workers will get ZW$2500. The grade 16 which is the highest grade (fetches) ZW$7500,” partly reads the report.
It has also emerged that three meetings aimed at breaking the incumbent impass between management and the retrenched staffers failed to bear fruit as the workers have defiantly resolved not to put ink to the retrenchment papers.
“One of the directors who is in South Africa we skype-called him for a meeting, (but) he is stubbornly offering ZW $500 as Retrenchment package flat fee”, the report further alleges.
The workers also contend that the offered ‘peanuts’ are in diametric contrast to the rates regime which was recommended by the National Empowerment Council (NEC) for ferrochrome industries in August 2019.
“Management on last meeting one of the directors (sic) said weather you like the offer or not, as management we are going to retrenchment like that,” the workers allege.
In 2019, ACF ceased operations at its Kwekwe plant citing Zimbabwe’s battered global image as the scapegoat for stunted business growth, coupled by a drastic drop of chrome prices in China.
Moti had initially invested US$250 million in the ACF project.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews