Intertoll Zimbabwe, a company contracted to collect toll fees on behalf of the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) from the nine tollgates it operates on the rehabilitated Plumtree-Mutare highway, transferred more than 72 employees in the past two months, in a move aimed at curbing illicit activities.
Intertoll Zimbabwe is the local unit of Intertoll Africa, a subsidiary of South African engineering firm, Group Five.
Group Five rehabilitated the 800km highway under a $206 million loan from the Development Bank of South Africa.
Sources who spoke to The Herald yesterday confirmed the development and said some of the employees were not happy with the transfers and were alleging that they were being forced to stay in hotels with the bills being charged on Zinara’s account.
One of the employees, who preferred anonymity, who was recently transferred alleged that the process required them to stay in hotels before they found their own accommodation.
“The process requires employees to stay in hotels during the relocation period,” said the employee.
“According to the Group Five transfer policy, employees and their spouses are entitled to three nights in a hotel in order to have a look at their new stations, four nights for the purpose of looking for accommodation and seven nights with their whole families on actual relocation.
“Transport cost for relocation is also met by the employer.
“About 72 employees were transferred in the last two months and it cost about $500 000 for hotel bills, another $500 000 in relocation allowances, $350 000 for travel and subsistence allowances and $70 000 to move properties by Stuttafords Removals. The total cost plus two percent was charged to Zinara.”
Another employee who was transferred from Rusape to Kadoma alleged that he was booked at a lodge in Kadoma with his family.
Some of the workers complained that the whole process was frustrating since there was nothing new to learn at places they were being transferred to.
“Some of my colleagues had to move with their school-going children because they cannot leave them alone and they could not be enrolled at some of the schools,” the employee said.
“The company refused to meet the costs of uniforms and school fees saying that they had given us relocation allowances.”
The employees said they had been trying to air their grievances to the company’s senior officials, but to no avail.
In 2016, legislators heard that the entire staff complement of about 25 people manning a toll plaza in Mutare were suspended for stealing toll fees, in a scam that could have been happening at other toll sites.
Last year, Intertoll Zimbabwe had collected $56 million from the nine tollgates it operates on the rehabilitated Plumtree-Mutare Highway on behalf of Zinara over the past four years.