CIVIL servants have not only rejected the government’s plans to introduce a welfare fund — that will see them contributing 2,5 percent of their salary to this pot every month — they have also slammed Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, pictured, for the idea, the Daily News reports.
This comes after the government announced on Wednesday that it planned to set up the welfare fund to offer loans to its employees at low interest rates.
Although joining the fund is optional, the proposed 2,5 percent tax has not gone down well with many civil servants, who have also been incensed by the government’s unilateral decision on the fund.
Another government decision that has irked many civil servants is the re-establishment of subsidised shops for uniformed forces members.
The Apex Council, the umbrella body for public servants, led the condemnations of the government’s plans yesterday, with its organising secretary Charles Chinosengwa telling the Daily News that they would resist the welfare fund.
“We were not consulted on this. We are just seeing it on social media. We were not told about it even during our last negotiations with the government.
“We are getting peanuts as things stand and with the level of corruption we are seeing in some government institutions, the money will likely not be used for its purpose,” he said.
He added that Ncube needed to learn to consult before implementing decisions that affect workers.
“Maybe Mthuli Ncube just wants to test how we are going to react. The minister should follow protocol and everything should be agreed after a National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting, not during Cabinet meetings.
“The minister is doing experiments with our lives and we are not going to tolerate this … We are not going to listen to all this nonsense,” Chinosengwa said.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe(PTUZ) also lashed out at the government saying it should refrain from overtaxing workers.
“We were not consulted, that’s why we are aggrieved. Mthuli Ncube is a human epidemic bent on entrenching poverty and misery among teachers.
“The earlier we mobilise and organise, rather than agonise, the better. Such thuggery, thievery and robbery from the starvation wages of teachers and other civil servants is not only callous, but a monumental injustice that can never be accepted by any civilised nation,” it said.
The president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz), Obert Masaraure, appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to reverse the decision.
“The intention is to rob us and attempt to appease the military. We were never consulted and we will definitely reject the nonsense.
“The programme is unsustainable … Everything will be looted by the cartels with a big appetite for primitive accumulation.
“For the love of our motherland we will not allow unpatriotic citizens who found their way into leadership through the back door to derail efficient public service delivery.
“We urge President Emmerson Mnangagwa to read the riot act and block this chicanery which overtly threatens to compromise the efficiency of his government,” Masaraure said.
“This nonsense must be stopped before it disrupts public service delivery. We urge our members to brace themselves for a historic action whose details will be announced soon,” he added.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) secretary-general, Tapson Sibanda, weighed in — expressing his organisation’s disappointment.
“We were not consulted … and definitely it’s not the best arrangement for us,” he said.
During Wednesday’s Cabinet briefing, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the planned fund was part of efforts by the government to provide a cheaper loan facility for civil servants.
“What we have found is that civil servants tend to borrow and are in serious debts as loan sharks charge them very high interests rates.
“Our view is to provide an alternative where they can borrow cheaply. We are creating this fund and will immediately capitalise it to the tune of $100 million.
“We have done our numbers from the 300 000 civil servants and we think this is a good number. To benefit, from this fund the civil servants must contribute 2,5 percent to access a certain level of credit.
“Once we start, they can also opt out. If you don’t borrow while contributing, whatever you are putting is yours and when you opt out you get what you have put in plus your (interest) earnings,” Mutsvangwa said.