Government has expressed concern with developments at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and has begun a process to establish the state of affairs at the institution after media reports that the employees had gone for five months without pay. The Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Cde Supa Mandiwanzira, said this while responding to a question from Southerton MP Mr Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T) during the question and answer session in the National Assembly yesterday.
“The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services is equally concerned about the developments at the national broadcaster but I must say we have had no representations from the ZBC board, management or the ZBC employees on what exactly is going on.
“We have taken note of everything that has been said by the newspapers but we don’t necessarily believe that everything that has been said from that has come out in the newspapers,” he said.
Deputy Minister Mandiwanzira said they were engaging ZBC and other parastatals under the ministry.
“We are engaging all the parastatals to understand what is going on and at this juncture we are establishing the state of affairs at ZBC and other parastatals that fall under the ministry,” he said.
“We will do everything to make sure that our national broadcaster and its employees work in harmony and that it dispenses its duties as a national broadcaster.”
In a statement yesterday, MDC-T also called for the immediate payment of salaries to the ZBC employees, saying as ‘a labour backed party’, it condemned the non-payment of salaries.
However, Minister Jonathan Moyo rapped MDC-T for being most culpable for ZBC’s financial problems after failing to provide funding for the broadcaster in the budget through its secretary general and former Finance Minister Mr Tendai Biti until he left Government in August this year.
“Throughout his tenure, (Mr) Biti did not allocate a cent, let alone a dollar, to address the problems that the newspapers have been highlighting about the plight of workers at ZBC,” Moyo said.
“These problems became particularly acute during the life of the unity government and according to the newspapers, some of the workers have not been paid for five months.
“It is instructive that the MDC-T has become aware of the plight of these workers after leaving government on August 21, and this kind of hypocrisy from the MDC-T – which is clearly out of depth and beleaguered and looking for anything that can give it mileage now that it’s running on empty – does not help the problems that are being reported.”
The minister said he recognised the problems at the ZBC were “very serious as reported by the newspapers”, adding: “What the newspapers have reported paints a sorry and serious state of affairs that needs attention.
“However, we have not received as a ministry anything from the ZBC board, management and indeed workers. Nothing!
“It sounds like the MDC-T knows more about that situation than we do.”