Kagonye fires Nssa board chair

HARARE - Labour and Social Welfare minister Petronella Kagonye has pulled a shocker by dismissing National Social Security Authority (Nssa) board chairperson, Robin Vela, with only three months left before the expiry of the term of office for the current board members.

In a terse letter to Vela dated March 27, Kagonye said she had relieved the Nssa chair of his duties with immediate effect.

“Acting in terms of National Social Security Act Chapter 17: 04 Section 8 (a), I wish to advise that you have been withdrawn as member and chairman of the Nssa board with immediate effect,” wrote the minister without providing further details.

Chapter 17: 04 Section 8 (a) deals with disqualification for appointment as a member and states: ‘‘A person shall not be appointed as a member and no person shall be qualified to hold office as a member who-(a) who is not ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.’’

Vela confirmed the dismissal in a statement yesterday but was quick to point out that the grounds for his dismissal were baseless and untrue.

“The above allegation is untrue as I am resident in Zimbabwe, I hold a Zimbabwean passport, my kids attend school here, my wife resides in this country and I have businesses that I run here,” he said.

The deposed Nssa board chair, who availed a copy of his Zimbabwe passport number FN369981, believes independent Norton legislator and Mines and Energy portfolio committee chairperson Temba Mliswa was linked to his ouster.

“Allegations of my foreign resident first surfaced in a social media tweet by Temba Mliswa (which read) ‘Is it a fact that Robin Vela is the holder of a foreign passport? How then does he chair the local entity Nssa as a foreigner and how did the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) miss this out?’ said Mliswa in his tweet of February 1, 2018.

“The irony of this is that on the same day, Mliswa tweeted that I was an executive chairman who was responsible for the day to day activities at the authority.

“Of course, I laughed this off as social media banter and never did envisage this being taken seriously by anyone as the status of my residence, let alone citizenship can be easily verified,” said Vela.

The outgoing Nssa board chairperson, however, conceded that Kagonye has the authority to dismiss him.

“I am fully aware that I serve at the pleasure of the minister …and can look back with pride at what the Nssa board achieved during my tenure, which began in July 2015,” he said.

He listed his achievements as the restructuring in 2015 that led to management team renewal; the restructuring of board committees; the introduction of a conscionable remuneration framework and strict adherence to corporate governance dictates.

“During my tenure as Nssa board chairperson, the authority made significant achievements as reflected by the financial growth in surplus of 638 percent from $19,5 million in 2015 to $144,2 million in 2017. The growth in surplus was achieved through a tight management of operating costs.

“Over the same period, the Authority saw a reduction in operating costs of 18 percent from $87,8 million to $72,4 million and experienced a growth in investment of 137 percent from $22,8 million to just over $54 million in 2017. Over the same period, the fund’s total assets grew by 50 percent from $917 million to $1,4 billion

“I therefore bow out with my head held high, knowing I gave my all to the authority and my country. I wish the Nssa board, management and staff success,” said Vela.

Comments (1)


skimitar - 2 April 2018

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