City Fathers Cheat Nurses On 2016 Salary Arrears

HARARE City Council nurses had the shock of their lives when their arrears dating as far as 2016 were settled using a debased USD1:ZWL$1 rate.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

When Government separated the RTGS and USD nostro accounts in 2018, this gave birth to an Auction Forex Rate to control inflation and bring order in the market.

These health workers had arrears worth between US$3 000 and US$13 000. To settle the close-to five year debt, these workers were promised residential stands. Some accepted the arrangement and others refused wanting to be paid what was owed to them.

In an interview, one of the aggrieved nurses said she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her seeing ZWL$6000 instead of an interbank equivalent. She said of those that received the stands, the balance was not enough.

The council owed me USD6000 but was paid ZWL$6000. I remember going to see Matengarufu about this issue whose dubious response was more of an alibi. He said he found the council arrears in a mess. Like he was maintaining the mess instead of cleaning it up,” said the nurse who requested anonymity.

The Zimbabwe Urban And Rural Council Nurses Workers Union (ZURCNWU) took the matter to the Finance Ministry seeking recourse and clarity on this subversion of workers’ salaries.

“We wrote a letter to the Finance Ministry but the response we got was unsatisfactory,” said ZURCNWU President Mr Simbarashe Tafirenyika.

On the issue of stands, he said some of his members received inhabitable stands in Mabvuku.

“Of these members that were promised stands, some found them inhabitable and others have not yet received them,” Mr Tafirenyika said. “We are appealing the parent Ministry of local authorities the Local Government Ministry to give us substantive directors whom we can engage as all of them except for Dr Chonzi are all in an Acting or Interim capacity.”

Harare City Spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said nurses can engage their management over that issue.

"They are free to contact management over that issue," he said.

Harare City Health Director Dr Prosper Chonzi said it was unfair for the nurses to have their monies rated using an outdated forex rate.

“Let me check what is happening because I heard nurses received their backpays. But I am not privy to the forex rates being used. That being the case, I think they (the department responsible for salaries) are being unfair to be paying using the 1:1 rate. It was understandable if the auction rate was used for the nurses to buy something,” said Dr Chonzi.

Dr Chonzi promised to relay the matter to the management.” The nurses havent written anything to me as they usually do. When they brief me of this issue I will take it up to the management,” he said.



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