Zimbabwe’s Broke government Offers Land For Civil Servants’ Outstanding Bonuses

THE cash strapped government on Wednesday offered civil servants housing stands instead their 2016 bonus but union leaders rejected the proposal, accusing ministers of living it up while their members live in abject poverty.

Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya held a meeting in Harare with executive members of the Apex Council – the umbrella body for the unions.

Last year Chinamasa tried to scrap the bonus, only to be overruled and publicly reprimanded by President Robert Mugabe who insisted that the gratuity must be paid.

Wednesday’s meeting was meant to thrash out a deal over the bonus, meant to have been paid in November last year.

Mupfumira claimed: “I must say we had a very fruitful discussion where Government presented some options to the workers’ representatives.

“They are going to consult further on the various options which have been given by Government. We will also be consulting further.”

But her upbeat assessment was not shared by the unions. In a statement released after the meeting, the Apex Council it was shocked by the government’s proposals.

Public service minister Prisca Mupfumira

“After inundating us with meaningless income and expenditure figures obviously designed to court our sympathy and wanting us to appreciate the predicament the country is in economically and therefore implying that they are broke, the Minister of Finance Chinamasa offered distribution of serviced stands in lieu of bonus,” said part of the statement.

“Government said it want to pay 50% of the 2016 bonus in the form land and the other 50% in cash but still staggered.

“Payment of bonus in the form of a dividend whereby, instead of government giving us money it is going to be invested in a huge money making project that on completion/maturation civil servants will then get their money as dividend.

“Despite government’s spirited attempt to hoodwink and manipulate us, we flatly rejected all their proposals and instead demanded to be given a payment date for our bonuses.

“Government then ultimately requested more time to interrogate our demand.”

Minister Mupfumira said another meeting has been scheduled for February 20.

However, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe the government must pay the bonus in cash now.

“As far as we are concerned as Apex council, Government should own up and make sure that they pay what they are supposed to pay,” he said.

“Why must we be held until February 20? It is a matter of urgency and it has to be addressed now because the moment we get to February we will be told that we will have another meeting in April and so at the end of the day it will kill our own processes.

“As far as we are concerned, there is no compromise. We are not going to accept anybody who comes to us telling us that bonus tichazokupai (we will give you later), no. We want our bonuses as it is defined.

“Bonus means financial reward. We do not want to be called to a meeting where we are told about a list of Government debts and expenditures. That has nothing to do with us.”

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