Workers at the Government-owned Erin Estate in Nyanga have pleaded with Government to immediately step in and address the issue of now defunct clinics, grinding mills and supermarkets that has been allegedly stalled due to long processes by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).
Workers complained bitterly during a campaign rally for a by-election set for Ward 26 in Nyanga, saying a lot of things have been stalled and were affecting them since they were being forced to travel long distances to acquire services they could easily get at the compound.
The by-election comes after the death of an MDC-Alliance councillor last month.
Speaking during meetings with Nyanga South Member of Parliament, Cde Supa Mandiwanzira recently, workers said they were forced to travel for several kilometres to access grinding mills, clinic, beer halls and supermarkets as PRAZ was “following its processes”.
“We do not even have a grinding mill here and we are forced to go to Juliasdale (20 kilometers away). When people want to drink alcohol, there is no bar and we do not have a supermarket here yet the structures are there, but they say PRAZ is working on it and it is now six months,” one of the workers said. “People finish work late and if they want relish, mealie meal or any other groceries, they are made to travel to Juliasdale. We are not in Government and we do not understand processes, but we can’t take six months to address these things. Those are some of the things that make people think that Government is not helping them,” he added.
“That issue has to be addressed and it has to be addressed or else people will be tempted to think their Government has neglected them.”
Erin Estate is a Government timber processing firm that employs more than 300 people. The company used to employ hundreds of casual workers, but management confirmed they had been forced to trim contract workers due to PRAZ requirements.
At law, all Government companies should go through PRAZ to make all procurements, a situation several companies, including local authorities, said was slowing progress.
Workers also pleaded with Government to ensure their working conditions are improved.
Cde Mandiwanzira told the gathering that the President Mnangagwa administration was working tirelessly to address all challenges, insisting the party (Zanu-pf) and Government were on the right track.
“I am here to hear reasons why for all this time you have been voting the opposition. We want you to tell us what we should address as Zanu-PF so that you vote for us now as the ruling party in this ward,” Cde Mandiwanzira said.
He said as MP, he will be taking the workers’ concerns to responsible authorities and the issues will have to be addressed immediately.