The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is recruiting eight new managers barely a month after dismissing 13 executives on the pretext that it was streamlining operations
The development calls into question the sincerity of creating a leaner organisation as the posts being filled are those that were occupied by laid-off workers.
The 13 affected managers were from the departments of human resources, finance, administration, engineering and audit.
Insiders have accused NSSA management of nepotism, saying it was clear they wanted to take on board their relatives.
NSSA board chairperson Mr Robin Vela yesterday defended the recruitment saying:
“Those positions are not the same positions, they are expanded positions that talks more to what the incumbent was doing.
“They are driven out of the result of the skills audit which was done. When you are streamlining an organisation, you also look at what your competitors in the region are doing. If you look at other funds, you realise that they are running four schemes and the staff complement could be about 400. Whereas as NSSA, we are running two schemes with a staff complement of about 950. There is need to streamline and there is also need to get the right people in position.”
Insiders said the whole process lacked sincerity.
“It is clear they want to put their relatives in those positions and this has nothing to do with creating a leaner organisation,” said an insider.
The same departments where they claimed to be streamlining are the same departments which now have advertised posts. What has changed on some of those posts are just the names where a few words have been added onto the job titles. The job description remains the same and one wonders what is happening.”
Advertising the ‘key’ posts yesterday, NSSA said the contracts for the eight posts would run for three years.
“The successful individuals will form part of the team tasked with formulating and implementing the corporate vision and strategy,” the authority said.
“The advertised posts will be on a fixed three-year contract renewable subject to performance of the individual and that of the organisation.”
Last week, NSSA – which has about 950 employees, said it wanted to streamline its workforce to 400.
The trimming was being done through a voluntary retrenchment offer, which ran up to January 13.
The offer, according to NSSA general manager Mrs Elizabeth Chitiga consisted of a three months’ notice pay, two weeks (pay) for every year served, two weeks (pay) for every 10 years served as gratuity, two months’ severance pay and one month relocation allowance.
Mrs Chitiga at that time said current employee numbers and related costs were untenable. As such, she said, the restructuring exercise would lower operating costs and ensure long-term viability.
She said the streamlining would create a ‘lean, mean machine’ that would offer service commensurate with the expectations of pensioners. NSSA is a Government-run pension fund with over $1 billion worth of assets under its management.
It is currently the biggest institutional investor on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. There have been reports of poor corporate management and ill-thought investment decisions running to over $100 million.