The Sunday Mail
Barely a week after dismissing board chair Mr Robin Vela, the National Social Security Authority has sacked four senior executives.
General manager Ms Elizabeth Chitiga and Messrs Emerson Mungwariri (director finance and operations), Barnabas Matongera (contributions, collections and compliance director) and David Makwara (investments director) were fired last Thursday after a marathon board meeting.
Board secretary and group legal advisor Ms Cynthia Mugwira also had her portfolio reconfigured and will from today solely proffer legal advice to the parastatal.
The shake-up comes as Mr Vela faces allegations of sexually harassing Ms Mugwira, who is contemplating legal action against him.
Mr Vela has refuted the allegations, and accused Ms Mugwira of “bed-hopping”.
Yesterday, Nssa PR and marketing executive Mr Tendai Mutseyekwa declined commenting. However, The Sunday Mail understands the dismissals will take effect on Tuesday.
On condition of anonymity, a top official said, “The board met on Thursday and agreed to fire the directors. They haven’t been given letters, but that will happen after the Easter holidays on Tuesday. Reasons for the sackings will be announced.”
On March 26, 2018, Ms Chitiga wrote to Ms Mugwira, explaining to her that splitting roles would de-congest her department’s functions.
Part of the letter reads, “Following meetings between you and management, the National Social Security Authority board has since passed a resolution to restructure the post of group legal and board secretarial services executive which you currently occupy.
“The board has resolved to split the post of group legal and board secretarial services executive role into (i) group legal advisor and (ii) board secretarial services, compliance and corporate governance executive.
“In the circumstances, effective April 1, 2018, you will be employed as group legal adviser. Your salary and benefits shall remain unchanged. Management will proceed to carry out recruitment for the post of board secretarial services, compliance and corporate governance executive.”
Ms Mugwira is contesting the decision, arguing she was being demoted for resisting Mr Vela’s advances.
Her lawyer, Mr Tendai Biti, wrote to Ms Chitiga on March 12, 2018, saying, “… we are instructed that our client has been subjected to unacceptable abuse which cannot be tolerated and countenanced from any employer let alone a public authority like Nssa.
“At first instance, our client has been subjected to massive sexual abuse in the form of unmitigated sexual advances by the board chairman, Mr Vela. We have been instructed with innumerable sexually-motivated telefascimile communications from the board chairman to our client which are degrading and put into disrepute Mr Vela and indeed the National Social Security Authority.
“It is quite self-evident from the tone of these telefacsimile messages that our client is being victimised for resisting the predatory sexual advances of Mr Vela.”
The letter also reads, “The manner of communication, the substance of communication and the interaction between the general manager and our client has been aggressive and totally unacceptable.
“We, therefore, contend that an unfair labour practice is being committed against our client which is against the tenets of the Zimbabwe Constitution and indeed the Labour Act.
“Going forward, we hold instructions to institute massive litigation against Nssa for constructing dismissal, sexual harassment and unfair labour practice arising from the alleged hostile conduct.”
Mr Vela told The Sunday Mail that the allegations were “complete rubbish”.
He shot back through his lawyer, Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, accusing Ms Mugwira of bed-hopping.
Ms Mtetwa wrote, “Our client denies the allegations made against him and he challenges your client to produce the innumerable fax messages she alleges are in existence. He further denies the innuendo that your client’s problems with her employer are in any way connected to him; in particular he denies the suggestion that her employment issues have been motivated by the alleged rebuff of our client’s alleged sexual advances.
“Further, we are instructed that our client has been made aware of a current sexual relationship your client has in today’s workplace and several previous such relationships she has had with others which will also be supported by affidavits at the appropriate time.
“It is our client’s view that the allegations were never raised as a grievance for no other reason than that these are a figment of her imagination, an imagination that appears to have dogged her for most of her professional life given reports of a similar nature she made against men in her previous employment which will be supported by affidavits from various senior and respected persons in society including another Nssa board member also curiously accused, in the public space, to have also made advances at your client.”