Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Civil servants will — for the first time in three years — be able to enjoy the traditional Christmas cheer as the new Government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa will this year pay them in time before the holiday, a departure from the trend set by the previous administration.
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Most civil servants would have been paid by December 21. Previously, low revenue inflows saw most Government workers getting their December salaries after Christmas. Members of the Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe and the health sector will be paid tomorrow.
Those in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) will be paid on December 19, while teachers and the rest of the civil service will be paid on December 21. Pensioners will also get their dues on December 21. Only grant-aided institutions will be paid on December 28. Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecelia Alexander yesterday said they would enjoy a decent Christmas holiday following the move by Government to pay them on time.
“We are happy with the consideration taken by President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa’s administration because for the first time in many years we will enjoy the Christmas holidays because all of us are going to get paid before the festive season,” she said.
“This is also the first time in many months that everyone is getting paid within the month worked. This is a positive development we appreciate. We hope that as we go into next year, the trend is going to be maintained. We know the economic challenges being faced, but it shows Government has taken into consideration that we are important stakeholders who deserve the best.”
Mrs Alexander said Government should move in and control prices, as some retailers were arbitrarily hiking them. “We hope Government will step in to stabilise that,” Mrs Alexander said. “Some shops are still hiking their prices and the four-tier pricing system they are introducing reduces the value of money civil servants are getting.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu weighed in: “That is refreshing news coming under the auspices of a new administration. We want to believe this is showing some seriousness in addressing what otherwise are problems which demoralise workers. We welcome that very much and hope it will translate into more meaningful engagement in collective bargaining where we will be articulating more of our grievances. That was one of the sticky grievances that we have always been rendered paupers as we go for Christmas.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe said Government had listened to their plea. “It is a good move because this was going to be the fourth year getting our salaries after Christmas,” he said. “It means the new Government is sensitive to the plight of the workers, it is a thumps up for them.
“It gives us the opportunity as civil servants to make our families realise the festive mood and enjoy like everybody else. This is a good start for the Government and we are thankful that somebody listened, otherwise we could have been told we would get salaries after Christmas, which would not have made sense.” Government has also assured civil servants that they will get their 2017 annual bonuses beginning February next year. The 13th cheque will be staggered because of low revenue inflows.