Wankie Colliery Document


– management stealing left, right and center

The once bustling Wankie Colliery Company, which was taken over by the government from the giant Anglo-American Corporation, is now making losses. This is not because of the government control of the price of coal but because the company’s management is stealing colliery property at such an alarming rate. And no one seems to care who takes what, a former employee, Frederick Furatirai Gwaradzimba says.

Gwaradzimba, who was fined $500 for stealing five company tyres which he fitted on his own vehicle, said as far as he was concerned he had not stolen the tyres but had just done what everyone else did.

He said he had decided to resort to the same tactics because when he was brought to the transport division’s stores department to sort out the mess there he compiled a detailed report showing who had taken what but no action was taken against any of the culprits when he presented the report to management.

Hwange provincial magistrate, Johnstone Mkandla, after hearing Gwaradzimba’s testimony said: “If what you allege is true, this court can only pray for God’s mercy to save the company from total collapse. I can only hope that the attorney-general’s office will be interested in this case and order investigations, if of course, police do nothing about the revelations.”

In his address to the court, whose transcript is 14-typed pages, Gwaradzimba said he was brought to the transport division’s stores department in August 1990 after complaints that the stores was not keeping enough spares for the garage to run.

Gwaradzimba said after investigations he came up with a report which indicated that the stores had, in fact, enough spares to run the garage and the whole transport fleet of the colliery.

The report, he said, took him six months to prepare and he based it on the strength of requisitions issued. He said he handed over the report to his senior, a Changara, who he hoped would question the people concerned since they had misused spares worth between $300 000 and $400 000.

He said nothing was done after submitting the report. Instead, it appeared he became a marked man since he now knew a lot of things that were being done by members of senior management.

Gwaradzimba says after realising that nothing had been done to the people involved in looting the company he came to the conclusion that anyone could take anything and nothing would be done.

K.E. Dandaze, an engineer, he said, brought his Peugeot 404 and the engine was overhauled on company expense since it had a company job number. He did not pay anything for the repairs.

Brian Messen who was a foreman at Open Cast ordered five tyres for his own use, Gwaradzimba said. It was later discovered that he had charged the tyres to the company. Messen, who has since left the company, was asked to pay for the tyres and the case was swept under the carpet.

Cloet, who is still employed by the company, ordered four tyres for a landrover and put them on his personal vehicle. When this was discovered he too was asked to pay for the tyres and nothing further was done to him.

In September 1989, Gwaradzimba said, the chief engineer, John Dugman connived with another engineer, Chris Waxley to pay $14 459.50 to Stip Novett for fencing that was supposed to be put around the garage workshop. It was never erected. But Stip Novett was paid the $14 459.50 and nobody investigated this.

“It came out. It was shown to management, and the auditors have the record. They have actually submitted these reports to the management, that is, to the Managing Director (but) no action has been taken.. That is a lot of money compared with the $1 148 for which I have been fired.”

The five tyres Gwaradzimba stole were valued at $1 148.

Gwaradzimba said Changara had also investigated a case in which Maddon Erten and the Open Cast manager ordered six air conditioners. The air conditioners were misrepresented on the order as compressor spares. The air conditioners were not used by the colliery. Changara as the chief storekeeper sent a report to his boss, Clamp, who “brushed it aside” and the matter was swept under the carpet.

“We bought five Leyland trucks at a cost of about $250 000 each -five of them. Two were redirected to Hwange Carriers. Right now they are bearing Hwange Carriers’ name -two trucks. I would be happy to see where Hwange Carriers paid for these trucks.

“That is a lot of money (but) nobody has cared to investigate that because it’s them -the big people, that are involved. Right now the colliery is crying there is no money. There are excuses everywhere. I know the truth. I have actually tried to help the managing director through the reports, through Mr Changara (but) nobody cares.

“We have a lot of contractors that are working within the colliery. These contractors get a lot of money for jobs that they are not doing. There is one small job that Hwange Builders was given to put concrete slabs on bus stops in the colliery. We paid thousands and thousands of dollars for that but that job (could) have been done by colliery employees using colliery materials. Nobody investigates these things because they are being done by senior people.

“These are only a few examples I wanted to give to the court. There are plenty more things. People in the colliery, especially the junior people, they have the facts. They have incidences that they have experienced. They have seen things being taken in their faces. They have actually helped to load those things on trucks going to farms but they are afraid to say because they would lose their jobs or they would be watched like I was being watched. Everybody has got the information but they are afraid to release it.

“Right now they (management) were going (around) telling everybody, do not give information to Gwaradzimba. Why not give me that information? If they are clean themselves why not give that information. What have they got to hide? What are they afraid of?

“But what is it going to help because the company now is rotten as it is. There is nothing in the company left. The company has got to struggle to survive. What is going to happen to the nation? If the owners of the company hear about this, are they going to be amused. That is the most worrying thing?” Gwaradzimba said in conclusion.


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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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