The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Business Reporter
THE Bulawayo Municipal Commercial Undertaking (BMCU)-run Ingwebu Breweries will soon get a new managing director after Bulawayo councillors decided against extending the contract of the incumbent.
Mr Prince Ndhlovu, who has been the brewery’s MD reached retirement age in January but had his contract extended for six months. According to a council confidential report, councillors rejected a proposal from the BMCU board to further extend Mr Ndhlovu’s contract after reaching retirement age.
“Mr Ndhlovu’s contract of employment with BMCU expired at the occasion of his normal retirement on 31 January 2018.
Thereupon, considering the important business of the privatising of the company that was and still is underway, the board of directors decided that it would be prudent to extend the MD’s contract for a limited term of six months to enable him to assist in the completion of the privatisation process.
“As you know, unfortunately there have been unavoidable delays in the conclusion of the privatisation process. It is the board’s intention to further extend the current MD’s contract for a further period. It is the board’s considered view that the company will benefit immensely from Mr Ndhlovu’s extensive experience with, and understanding of Ingwebu Breweries as an operating entity in the execution of the privatisation process, far beyond what can be expected of a new person in that important role,” reads part of the letter from the board.
Councillors in their deliberation, however, rejected the request, pointing out that the board had initially erred in extending the managing director’s contract in January, pointing out that this was done without their consent.
“This was an oversight on the part of the board of directors to extend the contract without the business committee’s approval.
Councillor Silas Chigora felt that this was an error on the part of the board of directors to extend the contract without approval from the committee. Clr Gladys Masuku concurred and felt that there was a need to appoint another person to act on the job.
“The board chairman apologised to the committee and assumed that this had been done in the best interest of the organisation. He was not aware of the legal requirements that the matter should have been approved by council,” reads part of the report.
It was further revealed that Strataway Consultants had since been appointed to start the process of finding a suitable candidate to fill the now vacant position while finance manager act as managing director until a substantial boss is employed.
Due to the problems faced at the brewery company — the Bulawayo City Council, a couple of months ago had to engage auditors to investigate the reasons behind the impending downfall of the company.
The auditors; PNA Chartered Accountants had presented a damning report which recommended the total overhaul of the company, inclusive of privatising the company to protect the local authority.
The report revealed that some of the challenges faced by the company were poor financial receipts and payment mechanisms, poor hygiene and packaging, unavailability of the product, deteriorated taste, quality and consistency, lack of diversity, low shelf life and high prices due to inefficient production processes.
As a result of the deteriorating state of the Brewery it has been revealed that if BCC ever considers selling the company, it would cost $5,6 million. Five years ago the BMCU-run brewery was dogged by a number of problems with 16 of the council beer halls closed for allegedly incurring losses, while cattle at its Aiselby Farm were disappearing in unclear circumstances.
Irked by the closure of the beer halls BCC reacted by replacing the entire board running operations within the company.