Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Chitungwiza Town Clerk Mr George Makunde yesterday said his $4 500 monthly salary is not a living wage after it was reduced from $10 000 following a Government directive last year.
He said the reduction of his salary brought misery to his family, adding that he was negotiating for an increment since the $4 500 was arbitrarily imposed without negotiation.
Mr Makunde made the remarks when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development chaired by Mutasa South MP Cde Irene Zindi.
“My salary approved then by the Minister of Local Government was $10 000 and $2 500 was for my accommodation, but since I am staying in a council house, I never used that $2 500 because my accommodation was paid for,” said Mr Makunde.
“I was constantly on $10 000 salary all inclusive. Now the Government has come in and said reduce your salary. Now it’s at $4 500. We are still negotiating because that’s not a living salary and we would want you to understand that such a situation causes one to think twice because you are looking at an institution that’s defunct in terms of operation.”
Mr Makunde added: “I have children who are attending school elsewhere. You can imagine the burden that it brings onto a child when you are now going to tell that child, ‘My daughter or my son, we can no longer afford the fees at your school’.
“How much damage does that cause to your child? I don’t want to become emotional about it, but you are our portfolio committee. You need to have that information. It’s a bit disturbing.
“There are litigations because this thing has been done outside the framework of negotiation or collective bargaining. It is a directive, fine, but there are litigations that will follow through in terms of rationalisation.”
Mr Makunde said the local authority managed to pay more than 200 employees that it laid off using the three months’ notice last year.
He said the local authority was highly indebted due to the previous management that had an insatiable appetite for borrowing from financial institutions.
Mr Makunde expressed the council’s disgust at the failure by Government to prosecute land barons whom they reported, among them Frederick Mabamba and Bonface Manyonganise.
He said most of the land barons abused their political affiliation to make themselves appear untouchable.
He said Government stopped them from rationalising the stands, while it was conducting its investigations on the land barons.
“We sent invoices worthy about $7,1 million to Mabamba for them to make amends to their wrongdoing,” he said. “We can’t collect that money because we were told we can’t regularise those things. So, we are still awaiting an instruction so that we can proceed to regularise the stands.
“We submitted written documentation for the arrest of those land barons. I don’t have a single person who has been arrested amongst those whom we listed as land barons. The meaning of that, I wouldn’t know and I can’t tell. Possibly it’s an institution that is outside my purview.
“Like I indicated, Mabamba and Manyonganise are still walking in the streets . . . I wish something was done in order for people to be brought to book and people realise their hard-earned cash.”