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NRZ evictions inhuman

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THE eviction of more than 50 former National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees in Bulawayo last week has to be condemned in the strongest terms.

It is common knowledge that the NRZ has not been paying its workers and pensioners on time for some period, driving many families into abject poverty.

The former workers who were evicted from the Westgate compound last Thursday claimed that the parastatal owes them $35 000 each in severance packages that have been outstanding for some time.

NRZ has been facing serious financial problems since dollarisation in 2009 and the situation has been attributed to a myriad of issues that include the faltering economy.

However, its workers have shown understanding and continue to report to work despite lack of pay.

NRZ pensioners have endured the pain of not getting their savings in silence.

It is in this context that the Westgate evictions are insensitive and unreasonable.

Some of the people that were thrown out of their houses were senior citizens.

Other tenants said had school going children who would be grossly prejudiced as they would be writing examinations at the end of the next term.

The manner the evictions were carried out was inhuman and did not befit the status of the organisation.

NRZ is a government institution and it should be exemplary in its treatment of workers and citizens.

The former workers’ property, which included wardrobes, beds, kitchen units, electrical gadgets and kitchen utensils, among other items, was strewn outside the houses that were guarded by NRZ security staff armed with truncheons and vicious dogs.

NRZ management need to relook at the way it is handling the Westgate issue before it creates a humanitarian crisis. It is clear the former workers have nowhere to go until they are paid their severance packages.

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