Zimbabwe: Cyclone Idai Victims Fail to Access Pension Benefits

15 January 2020

Several families who lost relatives who were employed by government during Cyclone Idai last March are not been able to claim their pension benefits after failing to access death certificates from the Registrar General's Office.

A tropical storm, Cyclone Idai, ravaged parts of Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces in March last year.

As a result, a significant number of citizens were left without any form of identification when their homes were swept away and communities flooded leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless.

The government declared the catastrophe a national disaster.

However, without the proper identification particulars, pension beneficiaries cannot process their claims with the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, Raymond Majongwe said government had failed to offer adequate psycho social support to teachers and civil servants at large affected by Cyclone Idai.

"Not enough has been done by government, the victims and teachers are all saying they did not receive what they thought would be quality assistance," he said.

"Up to now there are people who are still looking for documents of their loved ones that got swept away and they can't get death certificates which means we can't get access to their pensions.

"Surviving spouses can't benefit from pensions that are supposed to be accruing to them because normally it's supposed to happen within the first six months."

Majongwe added that teachers were still living in tents and face the risk of having the temporary structures washed away by rains this season.

While government had last April engaged the public works department to reconstruct classroom blocks, with teachers' cottages and toilets, the work was abruptly halted in July.

"They are still staying in tents and it's now rain season and it appears they are going to be pounded.

"The uncertainty, the anxiety, the threat and you never know how much rain will pound and whether you will survive or not.

"That's a real problem because we are looking at a scenario where teachers or civil servants have not really gotten the best help from government," he said.

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