Financial problems at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation will persist as long as the institution is run as a political rather than commercial entity.
This was said by a former senior ZBC employee who was responding to the Daily News report that the state broadcaster has not paid its staff for months, prompting some of them to go on a "spiritual fast aimed at unlocking their unpaid salaries".
The ZBC workers told the paper that they had not been paid since April and as a result, were failing to pay their rent, utility bills, and medical aid subscriptions.
This comes amid revelations that senior managers earn a monthly salary of $20,000 plus perks such as high-end luxury vehicles, financed by bank overdrafts.
The former manager, who preferred anonymity, said until competent people with business skills were put in charge of the revenue aspects at the ZBC, financial problems will continue to bedevil the institution.
"The problem at the ZBC is that there is no clarity on whether it is a commercial or political entity, and we have a situation whereby political appointees without any business sense are in charge of all aspects of the institution.
"The ZBC does not receive any state subsidies because it is supposed to be a self-sustaining business entity, yet the editorial policy is off-putting to advertisers. Without advertisers they don't enough revenue to pay salaries.
"Then there is also the perennial problem of mismanagement and plunder of the resources where you have people at a state-run loss making entity getting paid $20,000. That is outrageous," the former employee added.
He said outgoing information minister Webster Shamu should also be blamed for ZBC's sorry financial position, saying the minister seemed content to give ZBC managers free rein, as long as they were churning out politically correct content.
"From my experience the new minister (Jonathan Moyo) takes a direct interest in the overall running of the corporation and I'm sure there will be changes in the way managers at ZBC are doing things," he added.
Sivukile Simango, ZBC public relations officer, told SW Radio Africa that the issue of the unpaid salaries was "being discussed at the highest level" but would not say what level that was, or whether the new minister had been briefed about the problems.
Simango also denied that the broke workers were soliciting divine intervention by embarking on the "spiritual fast" starting October 1st to the 3rd.
"It didn't happen. Yesterday was October 1st and the staff canteen was full of people having their lunch. I don't know where that surfaced from. Maybe they were proposing and sending messages on social media but the 'fast' never happened," Simango added.
Our source however said it he would not be surprised if the workers abandoned their protest fast once news of the planned action broke.
He said there was an endemic culture of fear at the ZBC and workers at the parastatal would not "dream" of embarking on any industrial action.
"I can't imagine anyone at the ZBC going on strike. The ZBC is classified as a sensitive institution, and by working there you invariably come to be viewed as a member of the establishment such as the army, the police, and others.
"There is also that element of fear that comes with working in a high security environment such as the ZBC, where you have army and intelligence personnel," the source said.
Staff at the ZBC are now said to be pinning their hopes on the new Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister to address their plight.
Moyo has already said the reported problems at the ZBC "paint a sorry and serious state of affairs that needs attention", which may mean a massive restructuring exercise is on the cards.
The minister is said to have accused the ZBC board and management of failing in their duty to seek ways of improving the welfare of workers, online news source NewZimbabwe.com reported Tuesday.