Hundreds of staffers employed in the ministry of youths under the National Youth Service (NYS) department did not receive their January salaries as government tries to weed out non-functional departments, New Zimbabwe has gathered.
The National Youth Service, widely known as the Border Gezi training programme, was revived last year by the then youth minister, Patrick Zhuwao, after a ten-year break.
Nearly 300 people are currently employed by NYS as instructors and supporting staff at various camps around the country.
The programme has been strongly criticised by the opposition political parties as a plan by the Zanu PF government to train youths as party storm troopers to cow opposition supporters especially in the rural areas.
Government, last year, announced plans to fire 3 739 youth officers and ward development coordinators in order to save treasury of $1.6 million in wages per month, or $19.3 million a year.
However, despite failing to get their January salaries the staffers have vowed to continue reporting for duty until a proper explanation is given by the ministry on the failure to remit their dues.
“I think there is a mix up at the treasury department which failed to deposit our January salaries over a misunderstanding on who is a ward youth officer and who is a NYS staff member.
“We renewed our contracts with government last year and we are all currently reporting for duty in our various training camps until a proper communication is made regarding the future of the programme and our employment,” said a senior staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
This development comes shortly after scores of Zanu PF aligned youths who had enrolled for the programme were turned away at a training camp in Mashonaland East after the government decided to re-cancel the controversial exercise.