Chegutu MP says the only way to resuscitate David Whitehead is to hand it over to workers-judicial managers useless


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Chegutu West Member of Parliament Dextor Nduna says former textile giant David Whitehead should be handed over to workers because they were virtually the biggest stakeholders in the company which owed them about $10 million.

He said judicial managers who had been appointed to run the company were not going to turn it around because they were after enriching themselves.

A government bail-out through the Distressed Marginalised Areas Fund (DiMAF) would not resuscitate the company as the funds would be used to pay the judicial manager instead.

Nduna said corruption had killed David Whitehead which once employed about 4 000 workers in Gweru, Kadoma and Chegutu providing a livelihood to about 20 000 people.

“I need to ask why we should hold at ransom more than 4 000 families each with five kids or dependants. We are talking of more than 20 000 households and why should we hold them at ransom – because we do not want to do our duties diligently?” Nduna asked.

“I touched on issues to do with the DIMAF and no amount of it can resuscitate David Whitehead. What David Whitehead needs to do now for the record, it needs to change its credit into equity. The majority of that credit is owed to the former workers. If you retrench a worker and you do not pay them, it means in essence they are still working. They are still active workers and to this end they are owed more than US $10 million as workers and former workers. So that credit of $20 million, 50% of it is owed to workers.

“So all I am praying needs to be done at David Whitehead, is you need to change that credit into equity and make the workers the majority shareholders by turning over that company to the rightful owners who are the workers, 20 000 households. I will give you a brief rundown on who is owed at David Whitehead – it is the workers $10 million; Parogate $5 million, utilities $2 million, that is the urban councils and ZESA $2 million. That will roughly bring it to about $20 million and we come here and make believe. We believe that David Whitehead can be resuscitated by $1.8 million – it will not.”

Nduna said David Whitehead had already been under three judicial managers but they had failed to turn it around.

“So today I make a clarion call to us in this House to make sure that we resuscitate industry by nipping grand corruption in its bud. Here is grand corruption and it is glaring and it is time that we dealt with it in total. This $1.8 million that we are made to believe is going to resuscitate David Whitehead is in actual fact going to be the payment for the judicial manager’s services.

“As we speak, David Whitehead workers and former workers are being chased out of the real estate that David Whitehead owns so that the judicial manager can sell the houses, more than 120 employees so that he can get what he can, cans what he gets and moves off. Is this the type of industry that we want?” he asked.

Mabvuku-Tafara legislator James Maridadi said Nduna was also an interested party and should not accuse people like judicial managers of corruption because they could not respond to his allegations in Parliament.

 

Full contribution:

 

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to contribute to the Presidential Speech. I want to touch on few issues which are key in the Presidential Speech. One such issue is the resuscitation of our industry and the optimum usage of the same. I want to touch on a very key issue, in particular in Chegutu, Kadoma and Gweru. That issue is David Whitehead Textiles. Why do I talk of David Whitehead Textiles? I do so as it headed employees to the tune of 4 000 during its peak, I remember during 1988 there were swarms of people who left Kadoma/Rimuka location heading towards David Whitehead Textiles. At that time, you would wonder where the multitudes of people were going to at 12 midnight. I asked and I was told that they were all going to David Whitehead and they were working on a shift system.

I want to dwell on the house and workforce and why David Whitehead in its present state, cannot be resuscitated under the Judiciary Management System that it is currently under. Madam Speaker, David Whitehead has gone through three Judiciary Management systems and what it is under now…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.

HON. NDUNA: What it is under now is called the final judiciary management. It boggles one’s mind that if somebody does something for fifteen or more years and the same thing to the same entity like David Whitehead without changing any modus operandi and hope for it to be resuscitated and rehabilitated, it will boggle one’s mind why that person would think like that.

I need to touch on the legacy issues that bedevil David Whitehead Textiles. David Whitehead changed hands from Lonrho or Anglo-American to the management that was headed at the time by Chimanye. At the peak of listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, the management was told to liquidate their shareholding or to reduce it from 80% to 50% so that it could be listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, whereupon shares were supposed to change hands. One Toindepi who purported to want to buy shares from David Whitehead said he was going to inject US$5.4 million into that entity at that time. Toendepi did not even have a shoe, let alone anything which was automobile. So, it boggles one’s mind why he was given the authority to buy shares from David Whitehead in a fraudulent manner. He misrepresented that he had injected US$5.4 million which he did not.

If at all, he did not even inject a million US dollars, this is why today David Whitehead is in a derelict state because of connivance and fraudulent activities between Chimanye and Toindepi. As we speak, Toendepi is on the run in London, one of the countries that called for sanctions against our beleaguered State. One wonders why England is a safe haven for people that have plundered the resources that have fraudulently taken our resources in terms of shares from our companies and have left them derelict. One wonders why they cannot release those criminals to face the music here in Zimbabwe and why issues to do with fraudulent activities at David Whitehead have not been dealt with to their conclusive end.

At the moment, there is property that has been attached is under investigation and is still with the serious fraud squad at Southerton Police Station from ten years ago including automobile for cases that have not been concluded, and we expect that David Whitehead can be resuscitated. No amounts of DiMAF can resuscitate David Whitehead in its present state. What does David Whitehead owe in terms of creditors? David Whitehead as we speak today, because of these legacy issues, owes to creditors US$20 million and we come here and are made to believe that if we inject $1.8 million DIMAF into David Whitehead, it will be resuscitated. I say no that cannot happen. I say so because I am the Constituency leader of Chegutu which has been since historic time the headquarters of David Whitehead. My friend Hon. Chibaya from Gweru will attest to the same fact that the workers of David Whitehead in Gweru also face – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Member Mutseyami, it is the Chair who directs the Hon. Member who is debating and not another Hon. Member.

HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you for the protection Madam Speaker Ma’am.

HON. MARIDADI: Hon. Nduna is giving reference to Hon. Chibaya who is in Europe right now and he cannot respond to that.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. Hon. Nduna is referring to a member of this House. I do not think that there is anything wrong with that and you are not supposed to answer on behalf of another Hon. Member.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you for the protection Madam Speaker Ma’am. Just for point of clarity, I am talking about Hon. Chibaya in good light. He and I share the same sentiments when it comes to the resuscitation of David Whitehead. These were the election promises and we are a Government by the people, for the people, with the people and we want to see the resuscitation of David Whitehead.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, in his absence I speak on his behalf and he shares the same passion. I say today we need to bring to conclusion the issue to do with the investigation of the cases of David Whitehead that are seated and rotting at serious fraud squad at Southerton today. We need to bring to conclusion the issues to do with investigations that are seated in the Attorney-General’s Office today that have not been concluded. I need to ask why we should hold at ransom more than 4 000 families each with five kids or dependants. We are talking of more than 20 000 households and why should we hold them at ransomed – because we do not want to do our duties diligently?

I touched on issues to do with the DIMAF and no amount of it can resuscitate David Whitehead. What David Whitehead needs to do now for the record, it needs to change its credit into equity. The majority of that credit is owed to the former workers. If you retrench a worker and you do not pay them, it means in essence they are still working. They are still active workers and to this end they are owed more than US $10 million as workers and former workers. So that credit of $20 million, 50% of it is owed to workers.

So all I am praying needs to be done at David Whitehead, is you need to change that credit into equity and make the workers the majority shareholders by turning over that company to the rightful owners who are the workers, 20 000 households. I will give you a brief rundown on who is owed at David Whitehead – it is the workers $10 million; Parogate $5 million, utilities $2 million, that is the urban councils and ZESA $2 million. That will roughly bring it to about $20 million and we come here and make believe. We believe that David Whitehead can be resuscitated by $1.8 million – it will not.

I will tell you what a judicial manager is. A judicial manager is like a doctor, he can proffer a solution and medication – whether you resuscitate or not; that is no ndaba of his. He will still get paid for his services. This is what one Hofisi would have us believe. David Whitehead has gone through three judicial managers, Cecil Madondo, Militara and now the final judicial manager who is Hofisi.

Hofisi is not a good enough judicial manager for David Whitehead because he is conflicted. He started as an accountant at David Whitehead, went on to be a partner as a judicial manager in the first judicial management and today he is the third and final judicial manager. We should open our eyes and see that this person is in it for self and selfish gains as opposed to the resuscitation of the community factory.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, we are losing the future of this nation in general and the future of Chegutu, Gweru, and the future of Kadoma in particular. When they started liquidating the shares of David Whitehead, purportedly to one Toendepi who is on the run, one Chimanye started selling hosiery machines. As we speak, there are 15 hosiery machines that are being utilised by his wife behind Borrowdale today at the expense of the workers at David Whitehead.

We need to reverse this situation by making sure that the wheels of justice turn and are oiled by this Parliament, because we are here to make laws for the good governance and order of society. So today I make a clarion call to us in this House to make sure that we resuscitate industry by nipping grand corruption in its bud. Here is grand corruption and it is glaring and it is time that we dealt with it in total. This $1.8 million that we are made to believe is going to resuscitate David Whitehead is in actual fact going to be the payment for the judicial manager’s services.

As we speak, David Whitehead workers and former workers are being chased out of the real estate that David Whitehead owns so that the judicial manager can sell the houses, more than 120 employees so that he can get what he can, cans what he gets and moves off. Is this the type of industry that we want? How many investors are going to come in a situation which is riddled with such inconsistencies?

HON. MARIDADI: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order on a matter of procedure. I agree with the Hon. Member’s debate but he is talking about a judicial manager who is in place, who has been appointed, who is working and is not able to come and respond to his allegations.

Secondly, he once posed a question to the Minister of Industry and Commerce and the response that was given by the Minister was that on this particular issue, the Hon. Member is conflicted. I think as a House we should be guided accordingly. Thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can you come again.

HON. MARIDADI: There are two issues. Firstly, he is talking about David Whitehead and the judicial manager who is currently in place and according to Standing Rules and Orders, you cannot talk about somebody who is unable to come to this House and defend himself. Secondly, he once asked a question which he directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce on the same issue of the Judicial Manager and the response that was given by the Minister was that the Hon. Member is an interested part. As such, I think this House should be guided accordingly. Thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think the Hon. Member is responding to the Presidential Speech – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – When he is responding to the Presidential Speech – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, let us have order.

HON. MARIDADI: With respect Madam Speaker, the President gave the State of the Nation Address and to imply that the Hon. Member is responding to that Address might not be correct because the President did not address the issue of David Whitehead.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What happens Hon. Member, when you are responding to the Presidential Speech, you end up referring to some issues which are happening in your constituency. You cannot go on talking about the speech of the President only, but you can also refer to your constituency or some other issues. Can the Hon. Member wind up his presentation.

HON. NDUNA: As I wind up, I want to talk of ‘Housing for All’, in particular, in the old location of Chegutu 2 District in Ward 5. That is one of the oldest locations, but as we speak today, the councillor of Chegutu will have us believe those 25 years on, those people still owe council more than $4 000 each in order to get title deeds to those houses.

If we do not nip corruption at that level in its bud, we are doing ourselves a disservice.

On issues to deal with farm downsizing, I agree in total that there is going to be downsizing to the required 400 hectares. However, there is a lot of corruption that goes on behind the scenes in the lands offices. What happens is, they will give you 300 hectares, but he who knows how much land there is, is only the lands officer, and he who is doing the planning. So, what happens is that they will give you the 300 hectares, but behind the 300 hectares, there is 3 000 hectares that are not written on paper. As they downsize, they will downsize from the 300 to 150 hectares, but they will still go smiling all the way to the corrupt bank.

On issues to do with education, I need to touch on education as enshrined in our Constitution, for this Parliament to uphold the supreme law of the land which is the Constitution, to provide free basic education for our kids so that we do not mortgage our future by not providing free basic education.

As we deal with health issues, we need to follow where our population has gone to, that is, to the rural areas. We need to provide free health service, not only to establish free health institutions in the rural areas, but also to provide free health service for our institutions, elderly or the population in the rural areas until we are able to provide optimally for our villagers or rural people from the land that we have been given through the Land Reform Programme. I thank you.

(195 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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