Heads at Gweru City Council-owned Go Beer Farms are set to roll while some workers could lose their jobs as the council pushes for productivity at the business unit, 98.4FM News can report.
The council is set to dissolve the management of its Go Beer Farms business entity over allegations of gross incompetence and lack of transparency. The business unit has not been productive due to several viability issues that include legacy debts which saw it face litigation and its property attached.
According to Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe, the business unit`s management had failed to put the farms back in production as tasked by the council.
“We seem not to have confidence in those that are running the entity because they are the same people who have been there and we haven`t seen any change. In our last meeting, we agreed that they were going to do 200 hectares of wheat and only 120 ha were put and we are not happy with that kind of work,” he told 98.4FM News.
Makombe said the council had resolved to dissolve the entity`s current management and also undertake a mini staff rationalisation exercise. He added that an interim committee had been constituted to take over the running of Go Beer operations pending the establishment of new management.
“We have said let`s relook the human capital we have there, do we really have qualified people who can run the farms, so we have put in an interim board comprised of managers and councilors to preside over the affairs of Go Beer before we put in a substantive body comprising members of the public and stakeholders.”
Speaking during a full council meeting on Tuesday, some councilors said the entity`s current management was abusing resources. Ward 13 Cllr Catherine Mhondiwa said the unit had not been reporting its activities to the council.
“The management there has not been presenting reports of its activities to us. They have been doing whatever they were doing and my plea on Go Beer (farms) is that there is nothing meaningful going on there because all they do is appropriate funds, take council equipment and never account for it,” said Mhondiwa.
She added: “They have produced some beans and some maize at the farms and we never saw the farm produce, they just made up some stories on the issue.”
Another councilor, Albert Chirau (Ward 11) said the new interim board should employ new management at the entity and do an audit of its finances and human resources capital.
“Take charge and employing a new leadership of the company, do a systems audit covering operational efficiency issues, human capital evaluation. It`s better the current team is reassigned because it is incompetent and just siphons resources out of the council through paying unproductive people” Chirau said.
Gweru City Acting Town Clerk Vakai Chikwekwe said the Go Beer Farms unit had not been declaring its earnings to the council.
He said: “Go Beer Farms requires a complete overhaul. They generated some revenue but never disclosed how much they made, just like how they procured some stuff without going through the tender process and council.”
Go Beer Farms are part of Gweru City Council`s strategic business units, which also include Go Beer Brewery and a quarry mining venture. The council has been seeking public-private partnerships to revive its business units and generate revenue.