Jobs crisis: University graduates turn to vending

HARARE - Zimbabwe's unemployment levels are escalating at astronomical rates despite promises from the Zanu PF-led government that at least 2,2 million jobs would be created.

At least 30 000 graduates churned out from universities and tertiary colleges every year are resorting to desperate measures, with some forced into menial jobs including vending.

President Robert Mugabe caps thousands of university students every year but most of them cannot get employment as the economic situation worsens every day.

Although in its manifesto, Zanu PF promised to create 2,265 million jobs in the next five years, the situation on the ground paints a gloomy picture, with government at the forefront of retrenchments.

For instance, the State-run National Railways of Zimbabwe has sought permission to retrench 6 000 workers, or 86 percent of its workforce to slash running costs.

“NRZ used to employ more than 25 000 people in Bulawayo and that employment sustained the activities of Bulawayo, but that number has gone down to 7000,” Obert Mpofu, the Transport and Communication minister told  a business seminar last week.

“I received a request from the board to retrench another 6000 to leave 1000 and I said that was not sustainable.”

This comes as cash-strapped State coal miner Hwange Colliery has put 1 000 workers on unpaid leave. The company is saddled with a $14 million six-month salary backlog and a debt of $160 million.

The country’s unemployment rate tops 85 percent and additional people are becoming jobless every day as more firms shut down citing harsh economic conditions.

A recent survey by the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) said 711 companies in Harare went bust in the period July 2011 to July 2013, rendering 8 336 individuals jobless.

This is an addition to more than 90 companies that have closed shop in Bulawayo since 2010, with more than 20 000 workers thrown into the streets.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange recently warned that only about 10 of the 74 companies listed on the local bourse were operating at full capacity, giving credence to the fact that nine companies went into liquidation between September and October this year while 12 were placed under judicial management in the same period.

Leading Harare-based economist John Robertson said life would continue to be hard for the ordinary men who have been thrown in at the deep-end due to intensifying economic hardships with no end in sight to unemployment.

“Jobs are created though investments in the economy and people invest in a country because they have confidence in the future of that particular area,” Robertson told the Daily News.

“However, recent policy decisions are forcing foreign investors to take their monies elsewhere.”

Robertson said when government forcibly takes away land from huge conglomerates such as Zimplats – which employs over 5 000 people – no serious investor would be willing to come into Zimbabwe.

Government’s indigenisation policy – demanding 51 percent shareholding in all foreign-owned firms worth at least $500 000 – has dampened foreign investor confidence in the country.

“How can we expect to create more jobs when we are pushing companies that have the capacity to create employment away? The situation is getting worse and soon government will not have taxes to talk about as most people now no longer have any incomes,” he said.

Major companies that have retrenched staff include platinum miners Zimplats and Unki, Bindura Nickel Mine, Spar supermarkets, Dairibord, Cairns, Olivine Industries and PG Industries while in Bulawayo Hunyani Holdings, National Blankets and Merlin are stuttering.

All this coming at a time when Zimbabwe’s cost of living for an urban family of six increased by 0,8 percent to $567,03 last month pushed up mainly by the rising cost of  food.

Latest figures from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) have shown that the cost of living has risen significantly from around $330 in March 2009 – when the country adopted a multi-currency system – highlighting that a majority of Zimbabweans could barely sustain themselves due to high unemployment levels.

Zechariah Mushawatu, Zimbabwe National Student Union (Zinasu) national spokesperson,  said unless the new government takes austerity measures to resolve the economic crisis, the country’s unemployment rate will continue to escalate.

“More university graduates will continue to pervade the streets in desperate pursuit for better living conditions,” said Mushawatu.

He noted that students have already lost hope as the number of unemployed youths continues to rise unabated, adding there was no hope that things will change for the better in the next five years.

Zimbabwe’s once-dynamic economy shrunk by more than 50 percent between 2004 and 2009, leaving more than half of its employable urban population relying on remittances from friends and family overseas.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans fled the country’s economic and political instability to support their families from overseas and neighbouring countries.

More than half of Zimbabweans remain in the Diaspora as job prospects remain limited in the country.

Comments (50)

God have mercy on us. NIKUV stole the election in your favor I hope it will work the magic of creating employment for the 85% unemployed people since it worked wonders with the election figures. Crunch time has come the euphoria of election stealing has gone and we demand that ZANU-PF SHIT LUCIFER lives up to its promises. Please do not give us the sanctions mantra. It is not sanctions that is making you make SHIT policies that do not grow your economy and create jobs. Continue to churn them out young people from universities and tertiary colleges and let them continue to roam the streets. Very soon you might find yourself as a government with a revolution you cannot contain. Imbwa dzevanhu who are morally bankrupt. NXA

vongai - 5 November 2013

This is just sad news. Graduates are vending and we are pleading for sadza from Zambia . Ndabvuma hangu.

mambo - 5 November 2013

ZANU PF should create a Ministry of Poverty to ensure that all Zimbabweans who are poor and who are unemployed get Social Welfare benefits to help them buy food and pay school fees for their families. ZANU PF should scrap that useless , meaningless, waste of space and wierd "Psychology Motors Ministry " (which is, we are told, is part of the ministry of education) and replace it with a Ministry of Poverty because unemployed people are suffering and most of them go hungry while our ZANU PF fat cats ministers eat ten plates of sadza a day with money stolen from diamonds and other resources. The stollen money should be benefitting all Zimbabweans instead of feeding a few ministers in ZANU PF who are now millionaires and billionaires who own private jets and luxury yatchts in Kariba. The Ministry of poverty will be able to put aside funds to help the poor people who qualify for social benefits.

Poor Man - 5 November 2013

Kusvika rini tichitambura nhai wedenda?

Hazvie - 5 November 2013

Are the people of Masvingo ,Mashonaland Central and Manicaland where Zanu Pf "romped to victory" also affected by this state of affairs?Well I hope not because if they are also affected,then what they did on July 31 was cutting their noses to spite their faces.Come 2018 the story will be the same.Nikuv or no Nikuv or whatever it is called,the Zimbabwean people can be easily hoodwinked.Check in your rural community how many have benefitted from the indeginisation policy.From where I come from I am afraid I have not yet come across one,maybe I am in the wrong area or I do not know the right paople

chimuti - 5 November 2013

This is a tired story. Peharps it should have been penned in 2006-2008 when in addition to unemployment, there was a shortage of anything and everything including salt. Go to a restaurant in Singapore (McD) and you will be served by a graduate. The world's jobs have relocated to the world's factory-China. If we don't start small enterprises like India, we will be a danger to ourselves. Another issue is the mushrooming of universities, some with 3 intakes per year regular classes, 3 intakes night school, 3 intakes visiting (whatever that means), 3 intakes Block release, 3 intakes correspondence. If you failed A level you will get a bridging programe, if you failed grade 2 the unirversity can offer you a bridging program. Those that can't meet all this can always get a degree from South African UNISA and graduate even without a passport!!! So where do these half baked graduates go.? This is a world-wide problem where university education is commercialised. If the thrust of this education was entrapreneuship, even creating 2 informal jobs, it could have been better. A politician can't create employment, but fellow citizens have to identify opportunies to make money. A politician can't take you anywhere if you are not willing to move your feet.

munjanja, m - 5 November 2013

I am a pure mugabe supporter but the current unemployment rate leaves more qsns for the old man, the 2013 manifesto brought a lot of hope but its implementation has failed to materialize. The qsn is, is there light at the end of the tunnel or there were just promises to lure us. We desperately need jobs, be yr own boss concept only works if one has capital to start one. many graduates have been burdens to families during years of college, now there have been a bigger burden as they rely more on the family which had hope for the better after their graduation.

tintin - 5 November 2013

Munjaja politicians give the economy a general direction and our current old crop has failed dismally

mwana weshonga - 5 November 2013

Chickens are coming home........Chombo, Kasukuwere, Obert Dumbuguru Mpofu, Cris Mutsvangwa, dzoseraiwo change hakuchina maDiamonds kwaChiadzwa...........they stole our victory.........chitongai tione.....but please no-more sanctions mantra, nomore chihurumende chemubatanidzwa,tsvukukuviri the ship is cruising towards open sea.........come 2018

Steel Wire - 5 November 2013

Takavaudza kuti muri kuuraya vana nenzara nekuda kwemakaro epaka kurirwa kare. Tangayi zvenyu, imi hamudi. Alot of unturned grounds to mine but makaro makaro. mavambo enhamo aya

tmat - 5 November 2013

you reap what you sow!dont have the gut to do whats right then this is your Zimbabwe

cloud - 5 November 2013

In as much as we can put a blame on Zanu Pf for their shoddy policies i think life should go on and this is a challenge especially for our grandaunts. It is a chance for them to put their brains to use not to wail and rant day in day out. there is a saying ''one step backwards to move ten steps forward. I know the government is responsible but as people we should take the initiative and try to do things for our selves

Gwenaz - 5 November 2013

universities are on a fundraising mission, especially MSU. It has several intakes in one year and most of the graduates are always half baked. it does not have the capacity enrol more than ten masters students per programme in a single class. there is also rampant corruption at the institution and most of them do not have the requisite qualifications.

mazvimbakupa - 5 November 2013

Rise Zim youths rise this is it enough lies from these politicians.Lets hold them accountable for all their promises during the campaign period.They are wasting our lives we cannot have heartless leaders who do not care about the welfare of their people.As long as we do not protest they will continue to lie and lie lets not leave the country lets fight from within,enough Mugabe,enough we are sick of you.You are killing people indirectly with your sick policies

Pro - 5 November 2013

Keep up the good work Zimbo's, I have a qualified Zimbabwean Teacher serving my Lunch at my favorite restaurant here in South Africa and a qualified Nurse keeping an eye on my car when I park at the mall, you have the Government you deserve.

Desmond Ian Crystal - 5 November 2013

The problem also is the government giving students scholarships to go to universities in some other countries. If those scholarships were used to send students to Zimbabwean universities, zim universities would be uplifted. The other thing is once those students complete their studies in those countries, they do not come back to zimbabwe to work for the uplifting of the economy. It is just insane. We need a total change of government. New faces, new policies, and more youth involvement. The country is for the youth not the old potbellies in that government. The youth are the future leaders. The youth are even more learned than those old bellies. We need policies that empower youths. Policies that encourage SMEs. Policies that fund small companies to create jobs to graduates. We know it is very expensive to hire graduates hence we need policies that counter this for firms.

Zee - 5 November 2013

very unfotunate.but am sure these zanu pf guys will see wher they have failed n also tht Tswangirai "lifts sanctions" sekutaura kwavo.its a given tht these guys do not intend to run the zim economy but their "home" do u explain Obert having a home wth a sweeming pool tht passes thru the house yet he doesnt stay do u expalin one minister owning half a town and almost the whole of victoria falls.but musajairire vaMugabe,vanogona kuimutsa zim iyi coz kune ma professor ka

ndn - 5 November 2013

Thats the way it is.

jackovic - 5 November 2013

Manjanja UNISA is far much better than most universities in Zimbabwe. It is better organized, more recognized internationally and produce competent graduates unlike Bindura, MSU, GZU, AU, and and so on. There is only one university in zim, and that's UZ.

jurist - 6 November 2013

manjanja I enrolled with UNISA for a LLB degree and I graduated last year. At A level I amassed 10 points meaning I could not study law at UZ and MSU. Now I am a registered lawyer and I am a PA and I get US$1 500/ month plus benefits. I GOT THE JOB AHEAD OF UZ STUDENTS AND YOU SAY UNISA IS A STUPID VARSITY WHERE ONE CAN GRADUATE WITH ONLY A PASSPORT? WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING MANJANJA. MAYBE YOU CAN TELL ME WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

jurist - 6 November 2013

Hey guys, leave Manjanja alone, he's uneducated fool, do not grace his folly with with an arguement..he who argues with a fool...well, u know the rest.. as for the subject matter, we all know that government is an enabler, who it enables depends on the type of government, our enables its own aristocrats who cry "sanctions" wenever asked about the state of the economy...lets fix the fundumentals of our economy before discussing the Universities...they are merely symptoms of a bigger problem - ZANU(PF) and the general populous of this country - yes Zimbos are to blame for this machiavellian state we're in...the Egyptians acted on their concerns, so dd the Tunisians, South Africans, though lazy and stupid, act on their concerns on a daily basis, yet the "educated" Zimbos cry and do nothing, no one will change our country for for though...were do we expect change to cme from wen we stand aside wen things go wrong..we all know we were NIkuved but wat dd we do..sat on our behinds and dd nothing, thats equivalent to acceptance on the election results...we can chat and debate all we want, but lets do smething for this country, rather lets better ourselves and families (As we are a selfish pple)

anony - 6 November 2013

they can hang their degrees on the walls.

Gangeni - 6 November 2013

Zimbabwe should give all the unemployed people and senior citizens money every months so that they can buy their pants. Many countries in Africa do that. Here we have got an advantage because we have diamonds, gold, platinum etc. Libya was one of the countries I emulated because Gadhafi respected all the citizens and even give every new couples $500.00 as a start. In Zimbabwe our ministers are empty vessels they is nothing on the ground.

Worried man - 6 November 2013

Zimbabwe should give all the unemployed people and senior citizens money every months so that they can buy their pants. Many countries in Africa do that. Here we have got an advantage because we have diamonds, gold, platinum etc. Libya was one of the countries I emulated because Gadhafi respected all the citizens and even give every new couples $500.00 as a start. In Zimbabwe our ministers are empty vessels they is nothing on the ground.

Worried man - 6 November 2013

MDC had a programme of jobs for the pple,not empty zanu pf promises its a pity graduates are in this situation,first world countries are changing gvnts they are not mad,this is a creation of 33 years of countinuos rule of the same old wood,no meaningful investments are coming untill changes takes place ,nesadza chairo tavakukumbira kuzambia.kkkkkkkkkk.seka zvako gono chirandu.

TERRA COTTA - 6 November 2013

Chimuti Masvingo yes we are affected and we did not vite for ZanuPf somebody did that for us. We really know that ZanuPf has no clue on what to do that is why they are on a crusade ku tuka Tsvangirayi hapanaka chekuita.

Maita Manyuka - 6 November 2013

The old fat and grey haired ministers in ZANU PF are now very too old and too tired to run the country efficiently. They are too tired to run the country and with medical problems hanging over most of them , these ministers have now become incompetent to run the country efficiently. The only reason why they are clinging on to power is no longer a political agenda, but an agenda to fill their pockets with more loot from diamonds and other resources. They have empowered and rewarded army and police chiefs with diamond mines in order to protect the ZANU PF ministers to stay in power. Zimbabweans will never be free of these despots for a long time. China is a super power which is also protecting these despots because China is after our mineral resources and agricultural resourses to feed their Chinese children. All those graduates with no jobs will be prostituted eventually, by ZANU PF to become green bombers to help ZANU PF beat up people to force them to vote for them. ZANU PF will win again elections by cheating again and again. There will be more and more graduates this year , next year and many more years to come without jobs as long as ZANU PF remains in power.

Bhuti Vagudo - 6 November 2013

This article assumes that 2,2 million jobs are supposed to be created within 3 months.

Ginah - 6 November 2013

all that has been said is true,zanu won't change a thing,we as the pipo won't change it either,so who is gonna change it for us becoz wen we try to change they steal our votes.As for jobs l cnt tok of that coz Zanu pf can't create jobs for themselves so how can they create for all of us,industries are dead and we nolonger have farms to cater for our food industry,once the bread basket of southern africa now the poverty basket of the world,beggers from other states and unchanging state.

ndega - 6 November 2013

The biggest problem is that some of the people who are putting up some comments are being childish, when we talk about the day to day living conditions of people we must not be patriotic. Lets look at what the Government is doing and analyze whether it is good for the people. The Zanu Pf government has got fair policies and they should try to be objective in implementing and auditing the policies. First it was the land issue and the question is who benefited, and are the so called farmers doing their job?? The government should make it compulsory for the farmers to produce for the country since they got the farms for free and if they cannot they should be removed and even be arrested for deliberately killing people, farming is a very crucial industry as far as peoples lives are concerned and besides feeding the people we expect them to pay tax . Now before we even audit the farming activities the govt is talking about indeginising the companies. Who is benefiting from these programmes, are Zimbabweans benefiting and if the answer is NO then the government must own up and reverse everything. The government keeps on giving the same people who have failed to run farms the companies and what happens the companies are not run properly hence they close down. These same people are not paying tax and people expect the clinics to be run professionally when their is no medication. The masses instead of taking the government to task they blame the hospital management, university management etc. When parents cannot provide basic things for their children, how do you expect the children to respect the parents and how do you expect the children to behave. By not doing the right things the government is brewing the likes of Boris Mushonga's, Chidhumo's and all the other notorius people. How does the government expect the people to survive on empty stomacks, without education, without water, now without shelter when they demolish those so called unplanned houses.

Asekuru - 6 November 2013

The article is very clear "Jobs crisis: University graduates turn to vending" Ko inhema here, we have a crisis here and instead of being objective face the the case someone with very little grey matter decides to defend ka degree kake. Zvokuti wakaiwana mumuti or you bought it from UK or you are half baked is neither here nor there. Kumusha kwedu vaina svina matumbu nemadzimai. One went further and devulge his salary nxaaa . Thats why we have legislators who are grade 2 drop outs and security guards in a country with so many graduates.They say ilitaracy is a foam of disability so is education if it makes someone to stoop so low.

Junny - 6 November 2013

Amazing indeed to that some so called educated people still conceive of sanctions as a figment of ZANU PF's imagination! It's amazing because of the overwhelming evidence that MDC crafted and invited these sanctions on the country. A former member of the MDC confessed to being part of a meeting that conceptualised and even drafted the basic document that the USA then improved upon and named ZIDERA. It's amazing because of the fact that ZIDERA is a reality on the statutes of the USA. It's amazing because in the GPA/GNU agreement, all three signatory parties agreed on the need to call for the removal of sanctions, a recognition of their existence. It's amazing because the MDC leadership flew business class to Western capitals purportedly asking for the lifting of sanctions when, but in reality advocating for their continuance. It's amazing because our neighbours (excluding Botswana) within SADC, the AU, and other regional bodies recognise the existence of, and are calling for the scrapping of sanctions against Zimbabwe. It's amazing because the EU has openly admitted that their hands are tied and they are divided as a bloc regarding the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe. It's amazing because sometime back the USA revisited ZIDERA and further refined the legal instrument to tighten the screws on Zimbabwe. It's amazing because the very same "leading economist", one John Robertson who is quoted in the article above, also happens to have been quoted in a Daily News article of 27 August 2013, as saying, " It is their governments that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe not the firms.” It is REALLY AMAZING" that so many so called educated Zimbabweans say “THERE ARE NO SANCTIONS”. Asikana imi ! Zvinonzwisa tsitsi !

Selectah Vakuru - 6 November 2013

KwaChivi kwandinobva ini vanhu varikupazha mvura nemhaka yenzara asi Zanu shit romped to victory there. Muchapazha neura nekuvhota makatsinzinya vapfanhami.

Kachembere kekwaChivi - 6 November 2013


jayson - 6 November 2013

There are no sanctions against Mugabe and his allies. Those are just travel bans. How do stopping Grace Mugabe from shopping in New York affect me as a Zimbabwean?

jurist - 6 November 2013

u refused JUICE wc had a job for the majority of zimbabweans. ZANU PF IS NOW CLUELESS, STUCK AFTER ROBBING AN ELECTION!!!!!!!!!

HOKOYO NE NHAMO - 6 November 2013

Selecta Vakuru is like a parrot the way he repeats "Its amazing" everytime he makes a statement.Not only does he show that he believes sanctions are the cause of our problems but he shows how ignorant about Zim ecenomy he is.Let me help you Mr Selecta, as long as there is no production in the farms , our economy will never improve.The biggest companies that used to produce goods for the people of Zimbabwe were Olivine Industries,National Foods ,Blue Ribbon Foods, CSC to name but a few. All these companies relied on farm produce to operate.A single farmer in areas like Banket could fill up all the silos with maize and wheat.Now how many farmers can fill up one silo.Whether you admit or not ,our land policy created the mess we are in now.Ask people who live in Chimanimani about the condition of the tea plantations there now.They are now bushes.Then just do a simple calculation with your simple mind about how many people lost their jobs from thr tea plantations and companies down the chain.Wake up bhuti and face reality.Maybe you benefitted from the indeginisation story.

Chimut - 6 November 2013

this is not news to e apparently globally there is an increase in unemployment. Solution as zimbabweans we should change our educational curriculum to suit the current challenges. It continues making employment seekers not employment generators. Am a youth who changed this way of thinking along time ago. Lets think out of the box. Kungodzidza zvinhu zvausingazoshandise muupenyu!

thinktank - 7 November 2013

weldone thinktank

.... - 7 November 2013

brothers and sisters am so a student at uz but was given a program that i never applied for so am having a hard tym so was considering doing law with unisa because thats what i have always wanted.the question is ,how successful is it to correspond without having to attend lectures? maybe sum one who has done it before understands me.pliz help genuinely.

chichi - 8 November 2013

UNISA offers lectures at speciss and trust academy in Harare, Zimbabwe. In South Africa there are many campuses where lectures are delivered-you can do the research on internet. The emergence of the internet has narrowed the distance between lecturers and students such that you can contact your lecturers with ease. In fact communication btn lecturers and students is top notch. The study materials are of a high level.

..... - 8 November 2013

I being one of the foreigners to benefit from your 90's perfect education systems...., think that the biggest problem with Zimbabweans is you guys work as a team only when there is hope of achieving something, once you lose nobody seems to care start re-grouping up again go on and on with the positive talk ....and the cycle goes on and on. I am from Mozambique with worse problems but i think you guys can do better than us,at least here if you are educated the sky is the limit. It so sad that the country with the highest literacy rate *hope i got that right* has over 80% unemployment, Here poverty is high because of our poor education system ...come on guys do something ,going hands for once and reclaim your freedom

Mumosken - 8 November 2013

thank u 4 responding positively.i was almost giving up.that means am able 2 do my studies in zim but with unisa. how good are unisa degrees?my fear was that i wouldnt attend from bulawayo so is there a place i can attend lectures in byo?

CHICHI - 8 November 2013

Mercedes C200 Compressor ,2003 model, leather interior,Auto, electric windows,immaculate condition, completely spotless jus arrived from UK , vehicle at Plumtree boarder post $5500.oo only…ph 0733384860

Tredz - 8 November 2013

Fellow countryman and women, surely July 31 was FIVE months ago, in time the economy will improve our graduates shud also learn to be innovative to survive, who said vending is not business? hee Nikuv.......hee Nikuv...hee chino...hee chakati..

Don Wezhira - 11 November 2013

endai joni munosunda mabhara mugo zoziva kuti ZANU CHiororo

funman - 11 November 2013

transformation of university education is long overdue. it now lacks pragmatic element which is an ingredient for versatility. look at Japanese, Indian & Chinese curricula set up. the practical element in those curricular set ups have had a forward propelling effect on their economies.

big solo - 11 November 2013

clivem - 11 November 2013


TSVANGIRAI - 11 November 2013

Is trust academy UNISA offering lectures for llb programme

Dakar - 11 January 2015

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