HWANGE Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) is allegedly owing its employee housing fund nearly US$1,5 million after it failed to remit money deducted from the workers’ salaries, a development that has crippled the operations of the fund.
However, company management has said the money owed is in local currency and not United States dollars.
The Hwange Colliery Employees Dynamic Fund was established in 2003 for employees to be able to build houses.
Hwange Local Board then allocated close to 500 stands to the Fund for the construction of housing units. HCCL supported the idea and offered its payroll system for employees to have their contributions garnished towards the cause. However, it has emerged that the company has not been remitting the money to the fund.
According to a letter dated 19 February 2021 from the fund addressed to Hwange Colliery acting managing director, Dr Charles Zinyemba, administrators of the fund allege that the coal miner has failed to remit employee contributions to the fund.
“In September 2009 the Hwange Colliery Employees Dynamic Fund formed a housing trust to alleviate lack of personal accommodation that had continuously crippled the Colliery general employees during working life or after retirement. The management appreciated the idea and an agreement was reached to have the members’ subscriptions channelled through the payroll and then remitted to the Housing Trust fund account on monthly basis.
“On the other hand the trust fund made negotiations with the local board authorities to purchase land so they could build houses for their members. The remittance went well for three years until 2013 when the company could not remit subscriptions to the housing fund.
This was a huge derailment in our objective of constructing houses for the members. Our contributions continued to accumulate until the company had about US$ 1, 5 million. The fund was assured to be paid in due course by Hwange Colliery Company in US$ because deductions were in that currency. We acknowledge the receipt of your payment to Dynamic Fund totalling RTGS$ 297 129, 05 as at 16 February 2021,” read part of the letter.
Contacted for a comment, Dr Zinyemba said the company was seized with the matter.
“The people who can comment on that are those running the fund. We as management are trying to find a way of sorting out the issue. We had actually requested that they withdraw the court case that they had filed at the High Court. I have tasked my human resources manager to see how best we can assist but at the moment our hands are tight because of that Trust that they registered. We are finding ways to get that undone. It’s not the doing of the management but the employees themselves,” he said.
Dr Zinyemba said the company has schemes of arrangements with many debtors and the fund was one of them.
“That amount of money is in the scheme of arrangement so it is being paid like all the other people that are being owed in the scheme of arrangement. Payments are already being made towards that. It’s not US$1,5 million but it’s Zimbabwean dollars. I confirm that we deduct money from their salaries then remit into the fund’s account,” said Mr Zinyemba. Sunday News