Over a week ago, the Labour and Public Service Minister Petronella Kagonye fired the National Social Security Authority chairman Robin Vela, which then appointed as an independent non-executive director to an investee company a figure closely related to the new Emmerson Mnangagwa administration.
Neville Mutsvangwa, who is son to the Presidential Adviser Christopher Mutsvangwa’s appointment by general manager Elizabeth Chitiga — who herself was dismissed from her position last Friday — as a board member at Ariston serving NSSA’s interest has Kagonye’s fingerprints all over.
Mutsvangwa has little to no experience in the running of a private company, more so a listed entity. His resume shows that he was once employed at Anjin as a marketing officer a few years ago, possibly marking the beginning of his professional career. That Anjin was a military controlled diamond mining company tells us nothing about his professional capabilities.
After a government forced shutdown of Anjin, along with other diamond miners in the controversy-stained Chiadzwa fields in 2016, he was appointed as a non-executive director at Zimparks, a parastatal whose board was recently dissolved for gross abuse of funds. That the younger Mutsvangwa’s corporate experience is limited to government-controlled entities shows the limits of his expertise. It could be as far as his career highlights will go.
This is just one of the few questionable decisions being foistered on the pension fund, which manages over $1 billion worth of assets, by the administration of the day. The impact of these decisions is often felt indirectly through underperforming investments and operations volatility as due process is sacrificed for political expediency. But the executive management is often without voice and in almost all circumstances cops the flak for underperforming investments.
At the core of the volatility and the pension fund’s failure to perform is the outside influence by government through the ministries of social welfare and the ministry of finance. That is why despite its huge investment outlay, pensioners receive a paltry $80 per month.
NSSA, which was created as through an Act of Parliament, is under the purview of the Ministry of Social Welfare which turn is responsible for the appointment of NSSA’s board chairperson. The chairman for his part plays a critical role in the recruitment and retention of the executive management, turn lengthening the chain of dependency and loss of independency.
Other board members are pooled from interested bodies such as labour and industry, although much influence is retained by the government appointed chairperson. Often, the appointed chairs are allies of the ministers in charge of the parent ministry or other higher offices which the minister is subordinate to.
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