CIVIL servants have expressed elation at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s responsiveness to their concerns saying signs are there for all to see that the new political administration is sensitive and determined to better their welfare and remuneration.
This was after the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) last week promised to look into the deductions from civil servants’ salaries by loan sharks.
This was in response to the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) that had sought President Mnangagwa’s intervention on the deductions.
PTUZ sits on the Apex Council, a body that represents civil servants and has previously been critical of the previous political administration that was marshalled by former President, Cde Robert Mugabe.
Last week’s swift response to PTUZ’s concerns by the President’s Office appears to have enamoured the union.
Over 30 000 civil servants have reportedly had money deducted from their salaries by loan sharks ostensibly to service non-existent loans.
One of the loan sharks that have been fingered in the alleged scam is McDowells International (Pvt) Limited, which has since been liquidated.
Some of the affected workers claim they have been left with as little as $0,73 after deductions.
In a letter to PTUZ on Tuesday last week, Principal Director in President Mnangagwa’s Office Mr Christopher Gwatidzo said the matter would be looked into with the “gravity and urgency it deserves”.
PTUZ secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe posted the letter on his official twitter account on Friday last week.
“ED has responded to our letter concerning fleecing of civil servants by bogus companies.
“This is the first time the Office of the President has done so since our birth,” an excited Mr Majongwe posted.
Part of the letter written by Mr Gwatidzo reads, “His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe . . . has noted the union’s great concern on the welfare of as well as deductions from teachers’ salaries.
“The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) in consultation with the line Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education will look into the matter with the gravity and urgency it deserves”.
PTUZ president Dr Takavafira Zhou said the response from President Mnangagwa’s office was positive and encouraging.
He said as civil servants’ representatives, they welcomed the President’s commitment to address the welfare of Government workers.
“I think this is a positive and encouraging move. We hope that the line ministry that was officially informed by the OPC will act accordingly,” he said.
Dr Zhou added, “We are quite happy and hope that the issue will be dealt with to its logical conclusion.
“We are encouraged by the concern over our welfare. We hope for an improvement and to be paid reasonable salaries,” he said.
Earlier this year PTUZ had their demonstration against the deductions blocked by police and the union insisted that it would continue engaging the police to be allowed to protest.
The union had planned to march to the SSB and Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in Harare where they would deliver petitions over the continued deduction.
Dr Zhou said the union had shelved the plans and was giving President Mnangagwa an opportunity to deal with the matter.
“There is a new administration now and it has promised to look into the issue. Let’s give them a chance to pursue the issue to its logical conclusion,” he said.
Last year the High Court appointed a provisional liquidator to collect money owed to McDowels by its debtors, among them some civil servants who had taken loans.
However, some civil servants, mostly teachers, claim they have been made to pay monthly premiums to service loans from McDowells which they did not take.
Those that took loans from the company claim that the loan shark continues to deduct money from their salaries despite them having finished paying off.