Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter—
At least 3 000 teachers have been struck off the payroll and did not receive their July salaries because they were not present at their work stations when Government conducted a head-count of personnel in April. The physical count of teachers and other workers sought to weed out ghost workers. Most of the affected teachers were on study leave, maternity leave, vacational leave and sick leave, while others had travelled after communicating with their superiors.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu last Friday confirmed the non-payment of the teachers, saying at least 3 000 serving staff countrywide had lodged complaints.
“According to our records, some 3 000 teachers have complained of not receiving their July salaries,” he said.
“The actual figure could be much higher, but so far that is the number that we have.
“We are actually mesmerised, worried or annoyed that the reasons for the non-payment are not good enough.”
Mr Ndlovu said Zimta received information that the unpaid teachers were not present when the audit was done in April, hence they were erroneously regarded as ghost workers.
He said Zimta was demanding an explanation from the Government.
“Maybe it is Government’s strategy to cut its payroll, but it is a fatal and wrong strategy because innocent and loyal teachers, some who were on study leave or sick leave, were unjustifiably struck off,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe, said his union had received 318 complaints.
“Some said they were on maternity leave, study leave, while others had communicated with their respective superiors before travelling,” he said.
Mr Majongwe said PTUZ would engage Government this week to map the way forward.
The Herald understands that at Pfumojena Primary School in Chegutu, five teachers went home empty-handed, while five others at Biriiri High School in Chimanimani did not receive their salaries.
At Rusitu High School in Chimanimani, two teachers were removed from the payroll.
One of the teachers who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “I was on study leave and I am doing my post-graduate Diploma in Education at Midlands State University.
“I was shocked to discover that my salary had been cut. We have been asked to depose some affidavits explaining where we were at the time of the audit, but that will take time while our families are starving.”
Efforts to get a comment from Public Service Commission officials were fruitless.
Government in April embarked on the civil service audit in an effort to establish the size of its workforce.
The exercise was also meant to help contain the huge wage bill gobbling more than 80 percent of the National Budget.
The exercise to trim the workers, which was initiated by the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare began with a head-count in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.