INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo has accused the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) of failing to discharge its mandate by producing programmes that are not watched by anybody.
Moyo told journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Thursday that some people at the State broadcaster were busy lining their pockets through corrupt tendencies.
“When we came to office, we found out that ZBC was technically insolvent. It had a wage bill of $1,3 million a month for salaries only and $1 million for operations to make programmes and so forth,” the minister said.
“Their income that they were generating was $300 000 per month.
“Now somebody serious needs to tell me how an organisation that is making $300 000 per month can afford a monthly bill of $2,3 million.”
Moyo said it was impossible for ZBC to operate while generating $300 000 monthly against an expenditure of $2,3 million.
“We need to be mature people and we are tired of people who do not take responsibility for their own actions, who think that someone else must just pay them,” Moyo said.
“The basic principle for any organisation is ability to pay, when any other organisation no longer has the ability to pay its expenses, it must shut down. It must go under liquidation.
“For people not to take responsibility for their own actions to expect that the so-called government, which is easy to say the government should give us grants.”
Moyo said ZBC had for too long been claiming it does not get funds from the government yet it was the only public enterprise that licenses people as a source of revenue.
“Then they squander that money. They don’t collect it properly, they have all sort of books, including here at Montrose, there were fictitious licence books and these things are coming out in the audit,” Moyo said.
“They are collecting money from people and they are putting it in their pockets and then on top of that they say keep paying us.
“They will just collect $300 000 and heaven knows how much they are collecting on the side and they are collecting a fee, on top of that they say the government should give us as if of all people they do not know what government is.”
Moyo said the government was getting money from tax payers whom ZBC expected to fund its operations.
“So you want Zimbabweans to pay you for doing nothing and for stealing those things!
“What is special about you to deserve that kind of treatment?” the minister quipped.
“Yours is just to demand to be paid and then you look at the content that is coming out, you are producing things that nobody is watching except the news, then you want us to pay you for that.
“Then you say for seven months you went without being paid, during that time you were not coming to work, when we check why you are not coming, you say you do not have money for transport. But you are busy moonlighting elsewhere. You think people do not know this? So you must moonlight and on top of that you just must be paid salaries.”
Moyo said ZBC had a mandate in terms of the public interest, public expectations, national interest and in terms of the law.
“Why are you not discharging the mandate? Why should you be the only one who should be rewarded for not discharging your mandate?
“You have explanations for everything. When other people in places like Binga and so forth do not receive your signal, you say no they must just pay you.”
Moyo said it was time for those working in public institutions to first discharge their mandate before demanding reward.
“ZBC has not been discharging its mandate, but people have been lining and fattening those pockets,” he charged.
“We have people who claim to have bought an outside broadcast van (OB Van) and want to pretend they bought it from Mars and only they know how much it costs.”
He said the ZBC issue was so serious that Cabinet had to intervene.
Moyo suspended ZBC chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere last year following revelations that he earned over $40 000 a month.
A forensic audit is now underway to establish the extent of looting at the State broadcaster.