The Herald (Harare)

18 July 2014

Zimbabwe: 'Govt Can't Guarantee Pay Dates for Civil Servants'

Government has said it cannot guarantee fixed pay dates for civil servants given the economic hardships the country is facing and employees will continue to receive payslips without pay dates.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Tongai Muzenda told the Senate yesterday that Government was committed to paying its workers.

He was responding to a question from MDC-T Senator for Matabeleland South, Watchy Sibanda, who wanted to know if Government workers could be guaranteed of getting their salaries given that pay dates are not reflected on their pay slips.

"As you know, as a nation we are doing our best to try and raise money for the civil servants," said Deputy Minister Muzenda.

"The new pay slips, you are right Senator that there are no dates and it is not an omission, it's just saying we are going to pay in the due month.

"We do not want to make false promises as the (Civil Service) Commission does not put the dates on the pay slips and that is going to be the case for sometime until our economy has stabilised."

Deputy Minister Muzenda said Government would only unfreeze recruitment posts for critical sectors like indigenous minority language teachers and health personnel.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora also told Senators that Government had only banned extra lessons for non-examination classes.

He was responding to Zanu-PF Senator for Midlands, Cde Tsitsi Muzenda, who wanted to know the correct Government position on incentives and holiday lessons.

"We said school heads know how to ask for a special dispensation for examination classes -- Grade Seven, Form Four and Form Six," he said.

"We did not say they should not have extra lessons. Heads should request for permission from the District Education Officer."

Minister Dokora said traditional leaders should summon parents who fail to pay school fees for their children, while in urban centres, school authorities can take the parents to court.

Chief's Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira asked if traditional leaders could arrest parents for failing to pay fees in primary school, given that the Constitution says every child was entitled to free basic primary education.

Minister Dokora said Government had no capacity to fund basic primary education and as such parents should continue to pay.

Mashonaland Central Senator Cde Damian Mumvuri (Zanu-PF) asked Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Minister Olivia Muchena Government's reaction to the "controversy" surrounding the awarding of honorary degrees to most influential philanthropists including musician Oliver Mtukudzi last week by the International Institute of Philanthropy.

Minister Muchena said there was nothing wrong with the degrees since they were awarded for philanthropic work.

"We didn't find it necessary to interfere or react (to the controversy) because our understanding was that the degrees were for philanthropy, for people who use their wealth or influence to help those in need," she said.

"Those who give out those degrees do not expect payment. The degrees that concern us are those that people sit for. We saw that people are now mixing issues. I saw that the Institute appreciated people who are not usually appreciated."

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