THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) was stealing revenue and squandering monies paid by people for their television and radio licences, Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo said.
Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club, Prof Moyo said ZBC was pocketing revenue and was now financially insolvent and was failing to pay for its own expenses.
ZBC has a total monthly wage bill of $2.3million yet it was generating $300 000 with $1.3 million going to salaries and the other $1million for operational costs.
“Somebody serious needs to tell me how an organisation making $300 000 a month can afford a monthly bill of $2.3 million. What organisation is that, maybe you can find examples if living in the past, maybe in some hyper inflation environment.
“It’s very simple but for people not to take responsibilities for their own actions to expect that someone else the so called government, which is very easy to say oh government must give us grants, must pay us, is wrong.
“The ZBC for too long has been telling people it doesn’t receive a cent from the government grants yet it is the only public enterprise that licenses people. It has a dispensation from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to collect a fee from every person who possesses a receiver.”
Present audits are revealing ZBC would squander money and had fictitious licensing books to cover up its misdemeanours, the media minister said.
“They don’t collect money properly. ZBC has so many books including here, at Montrose Studios, fictitious licensing books. They are collecting the money from people and they are putting in their pockets and on top of that they continue telling people to keep paying them. Heaven knows how much they are collecting on the side. On top of that they say government must give us money, of all people, as if they don’t know what government is.
“Government is an institution that gets its money from taxpayers and taxpayers are the generality of the zimbabwean people. So you (ZBC) want Zimbabweans to pay you for doing nothing and for stealing. What is so special about you -we must give that kind of treatment?” he noted.
Prof Moyo said with all that notoriety, ZBC was producing content that no one watched and blasted its workers for wanting salaries yet had failed to carry out their mandate, which was giving quality programming to the public.
“Look at the content played, you are producing things, no one is watching except the news and you want us to pay you for that. Then you say for seven months you worked without pay. During that time you were not even going to work, when we check why are you not there, you say you don’t have transport yet you are busy moonlighting elsewhere. You think that people don’t know this.
“Don’t you have a mandate? Does the organisation not have a mandate in terms of the public interest, public expectation and in terms of the law? Why are you not discharging the mandate? Why should you be the only ones who should be rewarded for not discharging their mandate? You have explanations for everything when other people in places like Binga don’t receive your signal but no they must just pay you,” he said.
“I think the time for us who are given the privilege to be in public institutions whether parastatals or state enterprises or ministries must first discharge our mandate before we demand our rewards.
“We must be ashamed of ourselves when we are not discharging our mandate. As a minimum ZBC has not be discharging its mandate people have been lining up their pockets and fattening their pockets. We have people who claimed to have bought an OB van and they want to pretend that they have bought it from mars and only they know how much it costs and when we know that an OB van is just a kombi,” he narrated.