As Mines, Energy and Water Resources Minister Yamfwa Mukanga was in the Copperbelt last week threatening to nationalize the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) for expressing desire to lay off 2000 workers, ZESCO Limited a government power utility company that falls under Yamfwa Mukanga’s ministry was drafting letters to lay off 500 casual workers.
A source at ZESCO has told the Zambian Watchdog that ZESCO has already started laying off part of the 500 casual workers mostly Patriotic Front cadres. The source said the ZESCO wage bill has grown so big such that it has affected the smooth operations of the company.
“You know when our Minister was busy threatening KCM over laying off of 2000 employees, we were also busy drafting letters of termination of employment for 500 employees” the source said.
The source said ZESCO found itself in a position of over employing immediately after the PF came into power as the utility was instructed to employ over 700 employees mainly cadres and spouses to party cadres.
“We are in a very tricky position because when PF came into power, a lot of cadres came to join us I think more than 700 joined and you know what unplanned recruitment can do to the wage bill” the source said.
The source said it was during this time of recruitment that Special Assistant to the President for Press George Chella’s wife joined together with known PF thug Judge Ngoma who is a defacto Security Services Manager for ZESCO Limited.
“We were instructed to recruit a lot of people, that is how Mrs. Chella joined us and Judge Ngoma who is literally in-charge of ZESCO security but he is never at work” the source said.
The source said the over employment has also worried the World Bank since the financial institution is helping ZESCO with the Increased Access to Electricity Project.