“As a parastatal, we acknowledge that the volume of the human resource base does not tally with the business we are handling at the moment and there is really need retrench about 4000 workers,” the parastatal’s general manager, Mike Karakadzai said on Tuesday.
Karakadzai said his management had already informed the Ministry of Transport regarding the retrenchment.
“As you know, we are a parastatal and the issue of retrenching becomes very difficult and calls for wide consultation before taking any action. We have consulted the relevant ministry and obviously issues to do with timing again come into play,” he said.
NRZ, the country’s largest rail company has not replaced most of its equipment since it was installed in 1897, having outlived its lifespan of 100 years.
Last year, the government parastatal embarked on a drive to raise funding to renovate its collapsing infrastructure, but the begging bowl is still far from full, leaving the NRZ unable to secure key signaling equipment, the absence of which, experts said, had contributed to an increase in the number of accidents.
NRZ has also been blamed for the decline in Zimbabwe’s mineral exports because of its dilapidated fleet and equipment.
The state of the railway service mirrors the economic decline in Zimbabwe, once the busy hub of trans-sub-Saharan trade. As is the case in the rest of the country itself, corruption, mismanagement and neglect have contributed to the rapid deterioration of what used to be one of Africa’s most efficient rail systems.