Zesa Enterprises, a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings, is at the centre of a storm after engaging a private firm to do consultancy on publicity and advertising despite the entity having six full-time workers on its payroll under the marketing department.
The engagement of Bravo Media House comes after Government recently terminated a similar arrangement by another Zesa subsidiary, ZETDC, which had engaged Fruitful Communications owned by National Assembly Member Cde Psychology Maziwisa.
Fruitful Communications was doing consultancy on publicity, drawing thousands of dollars, yet Zesa Holdings has a fully-fledged public relations department.
The engagement of these companies has opened the door to suspicions that improper arrangements might be in place.
The marketing and advertising work earning Bravo Media House thousands of dollars includes securing promotional material for ZENT and placing adverts in the media, a preserve for the entity’s marketing team.
The engagement comes despite zent having a business development and commercial executive, corporate marketing manager, principal marketing officer and three marketing officers in the marketing department.
Bravo has already done consultancy for ZENT on the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and is now doing budget proposals for the Mine Entra, ZENT Day and the Harare Agricultural Show to be held next month.
The firm has also raised eyebrows as it has made proposals to do landscaping for ZENT.
Bravo has come up with a budget proposal that will see ZENT blowing $45 494 on its ZENT Day.
The consultancy firm expects to pocket about $10 000 in consultancy fees.
While The Herald could not establish the actual amount ZENT paid the company for ZITF, invoices at hand show that it was paid $3 500 just for securing a company to do T-shirts and shirts for the event.
The money was paid into the Bravo Media House CABS account number (Chisipite Branch) 1005754942.
Asked to clarify their marriage with ZENT, a Bravo official, Ms Precious Chitapi, said: “Yes, we have a contract, but ndezveiko izvozvo.”
Pressed further, she responded: “We are not a spokesperson for zent. If you want to understand what we are doing there ask zent.”
Zesa public relations department in response to The Herald, confirmed the existence of Bravo adding that the permanent marketing team was only sourcing for orders.
“The decision to engage Bravo was necessitated by the need to acquire creative skills that are not obtainable within the organisation (Zesa Enterprises) since its core business is entirely aligned to retail and manufacturing services and among others to support the energy and electricity industry.
This differs with ZENT’s action plan for the marketing team whose responsibilities include procuring promotional material, launching media advertisements, profiling corporate clients and industry, attending events and making presentations, holding stakeholder workshops among other duties.
ZENT is headed by Mr Tererai Mutasa.
Sources said there was no expertise required in hiring a firm to print T-shirts or buy promotional material on behalf of zent.
“The truth of the matter is that there are things we do not need consultancy which internal capacity should be able to handle,” said a source.
“T-shirts, banners, stands and pens we do not need consultancy. It would make sense if they were coming up with a strategy for marketing. As a group we have been doing this for the past 10 years without any consultancy and we have not had any challenges. One wonders what kind of value addition these guys are bringing in at a time management is claiming to be cost cutting. Can the marketing team fail to find a company that does promotional material and pay directly? What will be their purpose if they are not able to advertise?”
Another source said to show how suspicious the arrangement was, Bravo was now angling to do landscaping for zent. “Does this Bravo company have gardeners?” asked the source.
In a letter to zent’s business development and commercial executive, Mr Burusa Mandipezano, dated June 13, 2016, the company wants to do “landscaping, general housekeeping and clean up and disposal of old equipment”.
Reads the letter: “These days stakeholders place immense value on corporate responsibility, which amongst other things include how businesses treat the environments within which they operate.
“Our observations as evidenced by dumping sites within the business premises seem to suggest that currently the business has no viable plan in place to manage disposal/antiquated equipment as well as oil spills in some places within the business.
These dumping sites, mostly within eyesight of the business, may be cause for concern by some key stakeholders on ZENT day. On clean-up and disposal of old equipment we propose that a thorough clean-up of the premises be undertaken including the disposal of old equipment that is of no value to business especially front house.”
Sources said if not stopped, such “dubious” arrangements would continue costing Zesa Holdings thousands of dollars of public funds which should go towards service delivery. herald