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O País (File photo) / Daviz Simango
The president of the Beira Municipal Council, Daviz Simango, announced yesterday that he would return the management of the defunct Beira Transport Company (TPB), which he received a little over a month ago, to the central government.
At a press conference convened for this purpose, Daviz Simango justified the decision and let it be understood that he the inheritance may have been a kind of “poisoned gift.” writes O País.
“We have written to the Prime Minister saying that we waive receipt of the transport [company],” Simango said, advancing as the cause of his decision several constraints around the process of transfer of an asset which, he argued, did not actually materialise.
Nuances in the middle
The decision by the managers of the country’s second largest city is the culmination of a process that has long been claimed, but has been wrapped in mystery from the start.
The management of the former TPB by the Beira Municipality was formalised through a transfer agreement signed last July 7 by Beira city hall and the Ministry of Transport and Communications, represented by deputy minister Manuela Ribeiro.
The agreement established that the Municipality inherited the human, property and financial resources of TPB, which would be incorporated into a new management entity, the municipal transport company of Beira, which would be 70 percent owned by Beira city and 30 percent owned by Beira’s counterpart, Dondo.
At the time, Daviz Simango presented to the government a list containing 10 points that he wanted to see safeguarded in the process. These included am definitive list of ‘inherited’ personnel, the salary chart, the amount of money spent and the government’s guarantee that it would take over the debts contracted by the former TPB, including arrears.
Simango says that there has still been no response from either the government or the transitional management committee established for this purpose to these conditions.
“We were hopeful that these 10 points would have been answered by the government, but this did not happen. And during our work on the ground we noticed some other points which we submitted to the management committee, to which again they did not respond,” he explained.
The drop of water
The decision came into high relief when City Hall found itself on a collision course with the workers of the defunct company, through its union committee.
“We were caught by surprise by a letter from local unions demanding salary increases and perks, as well as responses to some of the contentious issues of 2015, and we realised that the unions were not aware of the company’s situation,” Simango said. He says the company is bankrupt and finds the union’s claims strange.
“We were surprised to learn that after all, the unions were not aware of the company’s winding-up. A company that is not profitable, a bankrupt company, is extinct and it would be normal for the unions to follow this dynamic,” Simango said. Unions, he added, “should act as a support arm and not just claim benefits despite the absence of productivity and profitability of the company”.
On the other hand, the Beira City Hall criticises the action of the provisional management committee, considering that “it did not fulfil the mandate that it had, which was to deliver the company in ten days. Thirty-seven days have already passed”.
From these and other considerations, Simango says, “we drew the conclusion that there were no conditions in place for the municipality to continue to exercise management on those terms”.Source: O País