The workers, some of whom were earning as little as $101 a month (about US$4 at the official rate at the time and less than half that on the black market), were supposed to be paid a retrenchment package of:
- 2 weeks for each year served
- 3 months’ notice, and
- Accrued Leave due
According to agreements that the workers signed in March, one worker who had served the company for 41 years was, for example, to be paid a severance package of $17 466 at the end of June which would have been US$274 at the official exchange rate.
Another with 12 years’ service was to get only $4 968 (US$78).
A foreman with 20 years’ service was to get $21 480 (US$337).
Sibanda and Shoko told workers that they had persuaded the government to quadruple the packages so it was better to persuade those workers who had rejected the retrenchment packages to accept because they would leave the company empty-handed.
In the audio Sibanda said she was going to do so reluctantly because she had been called all sorts of names. It was then that she said workers had no choice but to take it or leave it because the package had been sanctioned by Mnangagwa.
“Apa office yatakapinda handina kukuudzai ka kuti ndeyani. It was not Office ka of the President. It was the President himself. Handiti muri kunzwisisa. We did not meet the Office of the President, we met with him,” she said.
Shoko said the President had emphasized that the package would be $20 million and no more.
Though he made it sound little, the packages that the workers were offered, even after being quadrupled, were not going to reach half the amount raising questions about what was going to happen the balance if the government were to disburse $20 million.
The government-appointed corporate rescuer, Ngoni Kudenga, has been tasked with examining Boustead Beef (Pvt) Ltd’s current operations (investments made and operational initiatives implemented since the signing of the agreement) and establish whether or not it has capacity to revive CSC and advance the Livestock Growth Plan.
Kudenga was also tasked to:
- to investigate the company’s affairs, business and property and financial situation in terms of Section 134 of the Insolvency Act;
- investigate previous CSC operations and expose the weaknesses within the systems and recommend possible solutions;
- investigate adherence to corporate governance principles and recommend aspects that require strengthening;
- confirm the number and status of the properties and ascertain the status of all CSC assets;
- investigate claims of asset stripping or any other activities and institute measures to stop the asset stripping immediately;
- examine the Scheme of Arrangement and recommend appropriate measures;
- investigate the employment and dismissal of employees from the date the Joint Venture was signed; and
- examine and recommend Pension benefits due to the employees.