AIR Zimbabwe has asked some of its employees to go on forced leave as part of the restructuring exercise at the airline.
BY OUR STAFF
Those who have been asked to go on leave include five senior managers — general manager of the passenger company Moses Mapanda, finance manager Nick Mujeri, director of technical and operations Cephas Tarenyika, strategy manager Norbert Machingauta and procurement head Bothwell Gavhumende.
The restructuring exercise, which will result in some retrenchments, represents a major step towards re-aligning the airline’s staffing levels to current operations.
In an interview last week, Air Zimbabwe board chairman Ozias Bvute said the current staffing levels of 925 were inconsistent with the operations of the airline.
The same staffing levels were in place when the airline was at its peak over a decade ago.
“It does not make sense for all the 935 employees to come to work and service two planes. We have asked people to go on temporary forced leave and remain with a skeletal staff to rebuild capacity,” Bvute said.
“As and when more frequencies and destinations are added staff will be asked to return to work in a phased manner; this is not a retrenchment exercise.”
The airline is flying three routes — Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Victoria Falls and Harare-Johannesburg.
Bvute said the board would also embark on the completion of the audit of the airline’s books.
Air Zimbabwe’s books were last audited in 2009, an audit which was not completed.
“The board has embarked on a completion of the 2009 audit and subsequent years,” Bvute said.
He said a forensic audit would be carried out to establish how the business was being run.
“Inclusive to that is the completion of a forensic audit, which is not related to why people were put on leave but to merely understand how the business was running and close all loopholes,” Bvute said.
The Bvute-led board was appointed last month to revive the airline.
Other members of the board are deputy chairperson Gabriel Mugabe, insurance expert Nathan Chikono, banker Laura Gwatiringa, experienced captain Alex Makanda and deputy registrar general, Locadia Majonga.