Sunday, 25 March 2018

GMB MANSIONS RAISE STINK

TWENTY-five upmarket houses constructed by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) pension fund in one of Harare’s leafy suburbs four years ago remain unoccupied amid claims by the parastatal’s former employees that their contributions are being mismanaged.

The houses, located 20km from Borrowdale’s Sam Levy’s Village in Charlotte Brook, were completed in 2014 and the majority of them now look dilapidated before they have been occupied.
Ex-GMB employees said the houses were built with the intention of creating value for the parastatal’s pensioners, but had no takers because of their location.

Paint is already peeling off the houses that come with boreholes, garages, fitted kitchens and jacuzzis.

The former workers, who described the investment as a waste, vowed to push for the seizure of the properties to recover their money.

“GMB has been deducting money from workers, but not remitting to the pension fund,” one of the former workers’ representatives, Gatsi Mukombwe, said.

“Three years down the line people are failing to get their pension and we are being told that GMB didn’t remit the money.

“We are told that the pension fund is saying GMB must remit what is due for them to effect payments.

“This has taken a lot of energy from the former employees. Some workers have since died due to stress.

“The pension fund built houses using our money. They should sell those houses and pay suffering ex-workers.”

Others said they desperately needed the money so they start income generating projects to fend for their families.

According to an agreement seen by The Standard last month GMB agreed to pay pensions for its former workers on condition that 35% would be paid as a lump sum while the balance would be paid in equal instalments starting in June or earlier.

The workers said the fund needed to explain how their money was being invested considering the state of the houses in Charlotte Brook.

However, GMB pensions department CEO Taona Munzvandi defended the investment, saying it was very strategic.

“Investment is meant to preserve value and hedge members’ benefits against inflation,” he said.
“Return on investment comes in two forms — that is rental income and capital appreciation.”
Munzvandi said they had not found tenants for the houses in Charlotte Brook because of the difficult economic environment.

“The objective of the fund is to create value for its members. This was achieved since the stands were acquired in 2008, during the hyperinflation period using the Zimbabwean dollar,” he said.
“Background checks were done to our satisfaction. Charlotte Brook links with Crowhill, which borders Borrowdale Brook.


“The area has good view and soils, septic tank facilities as opposed to the sewer system, electricity and borehole water is available and it’s surrounded by dams and hills. Standard

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