The Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) is a fund established in terms of the Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28:02) and is administered by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, whose minister is the Trustee of the Fund. The principal source of funding for ZIMDEF is a 1% training levy which is calculated from the gross wage bill of employers under section 53 of the Act. It also derives funding from interest earned from the fund's short-term investments and from rentals of its properties.
The stated broad objective of ZIMDEF is to finance the development of critical and highly skilled manpower through a 1% Training Levy paid by registered companies in Zimbabwe.
ZIMDEF is administered by the Chief Executive Officer in accordance with the Minister’s directions as advised by the National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO).
Criticism for abuse of funds
In 2006 it was reported, that since its inception in 1994 Zimdef would buy office furniture and top of the range motor vehicles for each minister on assumption of duty in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, and on being deployed to another ministry, the Ministers would turn such furniture and motor vehicles to personal use. Ministers would also access ZIMDEF funds for personal fuel, hotel accommodation and other utilities in the name of visits to tertiary institutions around the country, yet they were expenses under the Ministry.
It was reported that Ignatius Chombo, Herbert Murerwa, Sam Mumbengegwi (brother to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Stan Mudenge who had been Ministers of Higher and Tertiary Education since the creation of Zimdef then, had all benefited personally from this abuse.
It was said that the abuse could go on because the enabling Act does not provide for a Board of Directors like most organized national institutions and within good corporate practice. There is only the creation of the National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO).
Corruption Allegations in 2016
In October 2016 the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) investigated and exposed alleged abuses of the Zimdef fund allegedly by the Minister Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Jonathan Moyo and his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa and related parties. The Chief Executive Officer of ZIMDEF was called to answer for allegations of corruption involving the fund.
According to ZACC Zimdef funds were abused in funding the followingː
- Bicycles for chiefs in Jonathan Moyo's Tsholotsho North constituency. Moyo did not dispute this, arguing instead that his Cabinet peers had also used state funds to construct roads to their farms. He also claimed that the investigation is motivated by tribalism.
- Zanu-PF Million man march. This was a solidarity march organised by the party's Youth League in May 2016. Moyo admitted that Zimdef money had been used to purchase coupons for 100,000 litres of diesel. ZACC also said that documents also showed show that a media company called AB Communications (a company belonging to another minister, Supa Mandiwanzira) had received $181 633,43 from ZIMDEF under the guise that it was for STEM, a government programme, when in fact it was meant for the party event. In a letter from Gandawa to Moyo, he said "You shall note that while the invoices read STEM, the payment was in actual fact for the million man march. The total cost through AB Communications was $181 633,43".
- A Zanu-PF Women's League rally in Rushinga organised for Grace Mugabe. Moyo is reported to have written to Mugabe's chief secretary explaining the abuse, "As you may be aware that we got a request on October 13, 2015 from the national political commissar (Saviour Kasukuwere) to support the First Lady's Rushinga rally with computers and logistics for the women's league and the youth to participate, the rally was to take place within 24 hours and put extreme pressure on the processing of the requirements"'.
- A Zanu-PF War veterans rally. $79 175,43 was paid to AB Communications to support a meeting held by a group of war veterans who were showing solidarity with Mugabe, after another group had issued a communique which was highly critical of his leadership.
- Fraudulent transactions with a company belonging to Deputy Minister Godfrey Gandawa, called Fuzzy Technologies. According to ZACC, the bank accounts of Fuzzy Technologies showed that all its deposits came from ZIMDEF and that huge amounts were subsequently transferred to personal accounts or to fund personal projects of the minister and deputy minister. Fuzzy Technologies was also contracted by Ministry of Higher & Tertiary Education to supply computer equipment without going to tender
- Levi Mhaka, ZIMDEF, the Cashcow for the Higher Education Ministry, Levi Mhaka personal blog, Published:20 Dec 2006 , Retrieved:15 Oct 2016
- Alex Magaisa, The Big Saturday Read: A panoramic view of landmark moments that have shaped Zimbabwean politics since 1980, AlexMagaisa.com , Published: 15 October 2016, Retrieved: 15 October 2016