Govt fails to pay workers

HARARE - Government has failed to pay its workers on time, postponing the pay date by three days — a sign of a tightening financial crisis.

Angry civil servants have railed against the government for changing pay dates, saying their employer is engaging in unfair labour practice, putting more pressure on President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF to deliver on election promises made last year of higher wages.

The Finance ministry issued a statement last week, stating that it had moved the pay date from March 25 to March 27.

“Civil Service Commission advises that the ministry of Finance (Treasury) has moved the March 2014 pay date for the rest of the civil service from March 25 to March 27 2014,” Civil Service Commission secretary Pretty Sunguro said in the statement.

Only uniformed forces and teachers received their salaries, according to the unions, while the rest of the civil servants are to wait for March 27. Govt fails to pay workers

Sunguro could not immediately explain yesterday why the dates were moved, and had not responded to written questions sent to her by the time of going to press.

Patrick Chinamasa, the Finance minister, was unreachable for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered, while Labour minister Nicholas Goche was said to be out of the country.

Unions were promised a wage increase for Zimbabwe’s 235 000 State employees, the bulk of whom are teachers, but the money is yet to materialise.

Chinamasa was challenged recently in Parliament on when government would honour its pledge, but he was non-committal.

“We are not yet in April,” Chinamasa said.

But speaking at his belated birthday party organised for him by the Public Service Commission, Mugabe said the pledge will be honoured. 

“We were promised that we would get the money in April,” Mugabe told government officials at a luncheon to celebrate his birthday.

“I was talking to (Public Service Commission chairman) Mariyawanda Nzuwah who is close to Chinamasa and he assured me that we would be paid. Even the President is also a worker — 1st of April don’t fool us.”

Mugabe blamed sanctions for the crisis.

“We are currently going through a difficult patch as a result of the sanctions that were imposed on us,” he said.

“This has resulted in a delay in the fulfilment of the promises of a salary increment that we made last year.

“It is, however, just a technical delay in the mobilisation of the monies, but the promise will be honoured. It is our wish, as government, to have all our workers adequately compensated for their hard work.”

Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader at 90 and in power since the former Rhodesia’s independence from Britain in 1980, was re-elected in a July vote sledged by rivals as stolen but largely endorsed by African observers as free and credible.

Mugabe has promised to revive the free-falling economy, which is stuttering to right itself after a decade-long crisis up to 2009.

Unions yesterday laid into the government saying the change in pay dates portends a deeper crisis

Cecilia Alexander, chairperson of the umbrella body for civil servants, the Apex Council, alleged the government was engaging in unfair labour practice.

“We don’t know why the government did that,” Alexander said.

“Instead of telling us first as the unions, they went to inform the nation about the pay date change. But we must say this is an unfair

labour practice. Civil servants would have already made their plans and to change without notifying them is unfair. Mind you, the salaries are not sufficient enough and then for government to move the pay date is wrong.”

Sifiso Ndlovu, Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive, said the unions now fear that the government will backtrack on its promises to award a salary increment next month.

“This forewarns of bad things that lie ahead for us,” he said. “The government move has lessened our hope and trust that we will get a salary increment next month. It is apparent that the government will not increase civil servants’ salaries.

“This is a crisis and we expect the government to come out clean and tell us what is happening. Last month, we wrote to the Civil Service Commission seeking a meeting but up to now they have not responded. We want government to confirm or allay our fears because we now fear for the worst.”

Raymond Majongwe, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general, said the change of dates signals a bleak future for civil servants.

Majongwe said: “This is a tell-tale sign of a very bleak future for us civil servants. Pay dates cannot be changed wily-nilly and the announcement is made in a newspaper. Government should respect that civil servants have to honour some dues whether to landlords or to service providers. We call upon the government to put its house in order. Government should prioritise our welfare.

“April is coming and we will not accept anything other than pay increase. We do not want to hear that the government is broke or whatever. The government should just fulfil its pledges.”

Comments (23)

This is one of the many lessons Zimbabweans should have learnt many moons ago. There is not one economic idea from this old and dying political party that will help solve Zimbabwe's problems. civil servants can forget about getting paid and find better ways to survive. Zim Assert was and always will be a phantom, and imaginary friend who never appears in real life. Mugabe should just quietly give up and let others take over if there is any part of him that cares about Zimbabwe and her people.

tino - 25 March 2014


Mathew 24v 1-10 - 25 March 2014

Sanctions were there when promises of a salary-hike were made, we were also told ZIMASSET would kick in soon after elections and turn around our lives for the better. We've been tightening up our belts, any tighter will break us into pieces.

Sinikiwe Shumba - 25 March 2014

Where is Emmanuel Nyawo? I remember at some point calling the then finance minister all sorts of names, and wanted him resigned for, what is the story now cde Chinyawu, where is the money? can you say something shamwari, it is our minister incharge, our own cdes, ohhh God forbid, hope you are not a man of short memory, suffer continue!!!!!!!

Nyawo - 25 March 2014

Smith was placed on real sanctions after his unilateral declaration of independence. However, the Rhodesian economy grew from strength to strength. They introduced what was then called 'import substitution' where ministries were tasked with finding out what imported items could be replaced. In Zim it's always this talk about sanctions.

tomasi ndofeni tohwi - 25 March 2014

Please mr mugabe feel pity for us

rugare - 25 March 2014

The real truth behind ZANU PF is that the whole team, from the head to the tail, don't care about this country. They only care about what they can get out of it. But because they now own everything, they can out-talk every into how "western imperialism/colonialism and their masters" is directing anybody who challenges the theft and greed.

The Watcher - 25 March 2014

First its postponement of pay dates by 3 days, then it will be 3 months, and then 3 years. By then it will be 2018 and the holy party will be campaigning for another vote. They'll promise civil servants and workers salaries from mars and moon. They'll promise to create a million new jobs, to revamp mining and agriculture,to improve service delivery and unlike the imperialistic opposition finance minister they'll promise to make funds available for the poor pensioners and war vets. Then they'll rig the 2018 election. The AU, SADC, and other observers will just say the elections though not fair, were peaceful, though not free, were a representation of the will of the people of Zimbabwe, though not smoothly held the irregularities were not serious. The holy party will then continue on their joy ride, Zimbabweans being their old jeep to ride on. And then they'll wait to repeat, rest and repeat their tactics in 2023. By then most of us will be very old and wasted and very hopeless. Cry the beloved country!

mosquito - 25 March 2014

VaPsycology Maziwisa can you plse comment on this latest development caused by your Party of choice.Remember you frothing from the mouth just before elections defending and expounding the useless Zimasset.

PMK - 26 March 2014

The case of the chickens coming home to roost sum of us neva learn.

protestor - 26 March 2014

I would like to call upon Cde Mahoso to comment on this one. An man old man who is fond of saying nothing in a number of words.

felix - 26 March 2014

endayi ka muno demostrator ku ma offices a chinamasa imi ma war vets ne ma civil servants hanty mainyimwa mari na biti muka demostrator ka

tototo - 26 March 2014

vamugabe musati ma sunctions chino ma sunctions chakati, musakanganwa kuti makatora zvenyu vamaidyidzana navo vakatora zvavo. Munemasimba ikozvino, asi chinoshamisa hapana arikuchema ku New York, Ingland,Australia nekuti vamugabe vakatora zvinhu zvavo.

chipazhamongo maseredza. - 26 March 2014

What next Mr. President?

Zuruvi - 26 March 2014

this sums up the predicament of a poor people living in a poor country. who knows, the salary may never be there in the future.

snowden - 26 March 2014

Why don't you ban All travel by ALL senior civil servants,heads of Parastals etc. etc for one month and you will probably have enough money to pay the long suffering "lowly" civil servants who are keeping the country running for a few months.

thracymacus - 27 March 2014

i always ask myself where the diamond money which biti was refusing with went. my foot. i kicked biti out thinking things will be better but............. jabulani sibanda your campaign for the party and us agreeing with you is coming to note.

sammy - 27 March 2014

What boggles the mind is that these guys having done all these, they still want to remain in power. Why taking Zimbabwe as their family business? One was defeated fair and square and you hear them declare, "nyika haingaende nepaper iyo yakauya neropa" Ahh comeon dudes, so why waste resources conducting a vote when you will not accept the defeat?

Coolage - 27 March 2014

well obviously they will have something to tell in the near future it seems thats all they are good at......nonone cares for anyone....n the there is nothing you can do about it

jimmy - 27 March 2014

It surprises me that people vote for the same thing and same party no matter how hard life can become.Kwadziorohwa matumbu ndoo kwadzinomhanyira.(Cattle run towards the one whipping them) So funny how like can be

Nzou Ve Joni - 28 March 2014

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Akuqili elazikhotha umhlana. We will meet you guys in 2018 then lonke lina abadala beZanu-pf lizahamba liyelima imbmbayila emakhaya. Kathesi lisitshela ngamasalaries amakansili kanti awenu lizasitshela nini? Bahola malini oZvoma, Perm Secs, Ministers, Directors and laye uGushungo lowo?

Mabhengeza - 1 April 2014

Govt fails to pay workers

Moses Moyo - 7 May 2014

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