SW Radio Africa (London)

28 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Chitungwiza Council Workers Go Three Months Without Wages

No salaries have been paid to Council workers in Chitungwiza for the last three months, as the municipality struggles with huge debts and expenditure far greater than the income generated.

The workers have now resorted to strike action and it is not clear how the officials plan to deal with the crisis.

Eddington Shayanowako, from the Chitungwiza Community Development Network (CCDN), told SW Radio Africa that they spoke to several workers from different departments, who had last received wages in August.

Asked how they are surviving, Shayanowako said: "We are wondering ourselves how they are surviving and were surprised to see many of them drinking at a place called Pagomba. It seems some of them are now surviving by doing criminal activities.

The state run Herald newspaper said Chitungwiza receives $1.4 million in revenue per month, but pays out $1.7 million in wages. This means the Council is falling behind by $300,000 each month without any plan to eliminate this growing deficit.

The report said three banks are owed huge amounts by the Council, with the debts accumulating $200,000 per month in interest.

Shayanowako said the Council is run by mostly MDC-T councillors, as well as several "special interest" councillors that were appointed by the Local government Minister, Ignatius Chombo. It has been alleged that these councillors were put there by Chombo to cause problems for the elected MDC-T.

Shayanowako visited the Council offices on Tuesday and said there appeared to be a full council meeting in progress. Some striking workers outside the offices said they had been given no information and had no idea when they would be paid.

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