Two months without pay for council employees

MASVINGO — Masvingo City Council employees have gone for a second month without getting their salaries on time. Ironically this comes as senior managers awarded themselves a 30% salary increase. Town clerk Adolf Gusha confirmed the salary backlog, but dismissed as false, claims the council top management had received a pay hike.

Report by Tatenda Chitagu

“There is nothing like that. . . nobody ever got a salary increment this year,” he said.

Gusha admitted workers were still to get their July salaries. It is just one month. We have been lagging behind by a month due to cashflow problems,” he said.

Workers at the debt-ridden local authority said they were yet to receive July salaries, a few days before they are due to get their August pay.

“The top management is yet to communicate with us on when we will be paid,” an employee said, on condition of anonymity. Another employee said their plight was likely to be worsened following a government directive that all councils should cancel outstanding bills, saying this will worsen the cashflow problem.

“Council is facing serious cashflow challenges,” the employee said. “We cannot follow up on our defaulters.”

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo ordered council authorities to writeoff all debts in what analysts said was a populist move by Zanu PF that would have serious ramifications on service delivery. Senior council officials said the directive has a knock-on effect on Masvingo’s ability to service debts, as the local authority is already grappling with a $3,5 million debt. Most of its fleet was attached early this year to cover the debt. Last December, the council’s fleet, including refuse trucks laden with refuse, ambulances and office equipment were attached over the money owed workers in a salary dispute that dates back to 2008. In January the deputy sheriff towed away the mayoral Mercedes-Benz, a Mazda Eagle twincab and several pickup trucks that belonged to directors. The cars are gathering dust after the council managed to block their auctioning in court.

The case is still pending.

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