The financially beleaguered Gwanda municipality now owes its workers more than $1 million in unpaid salaries and retirement packages, with an arbitrator appointed to settle the matter expected to make a ruling on the labour dispute next week.
According to latest full council minutes, by the end of August council owed its workers $851 205,61, while a number of retired workers, including former town clerk Gilbert Mlilo, were owed $216 927.
If the workers do not get their salaries this month, it will be the seventh month without their dues.
Workers committee chairperson, Sipho Ndlovu said workers were eagerly awaiting the arbitrator’s ruling.
“Both parties have made their submissions to the arbitrator, who is set to rule next week,” he said.
Council reportedly submitted that it is presently in a financial crisis and cannot afford to make a once off payment to offset the outstanding salaries.
However, workers argue the municipality is in a position to pay them, as it is able to pay its workers monthly and still remain with a balance of $100 000.
Council also owes the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, TelOne, Environmental Management Authority and other service providers over $10 million.
Councillor, Thulani Moyo recently announced that they were considering turning the costly MaNkomo beer garden into a flea market, as it was running at a loss.
The new councilors passed a resolution not to lease council property, but the imminent closure of MaNkomo beer garden, could force the policymakers to rethink the decision.