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Police Ban Civil Servants Demo

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Wednesday morning blocked civil servants from submitting their petition to the government despite the APEX council obtaining a police clearance to proceed with the march.

The riot cops sealed off the road and ordered protesters not to march beyond a 100 metres radius.

The government workers had planned to handover petitions to Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Sekai Nzenza at their government offices.

This also followed yesterday’s meeting in which the APEX leaders met with government representatives to iron out the salary impasse.

The meeting according to Apex Council leaders was a “damp squib” after both parties failed to agree on a satisfactory way forward.

ZRP Officers form a human shield to bar civil servants from presenting their petition to the government in Harare 6 November 2019 (Lovejoy Mutongwiza/263Chat)

The aggrieved member’s blamed government for its heavy-handedness and lack of will to address the challenges being faced by its workers while blowing off huge amounts on unnecessary expenses like the proposed purchase of vehicles for Ministers which is expected to gobble more than US$16 million.

“We are being told that things are working well, they keep telling us that the austerity measures will bring prosperity but from what is happening that is highly unlikely because the government keeps making empty promises.

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“Today we could not march because of the heavy police presence, so we don’t know what they want us to do… Our situation is dire. Everybody knows that we are severely incapacitated and we are facing an existential crisis.

“This is not a laughing matter, it’s not an issue people can ignore. We need to have real conversations on what it is that as workers we are supposed to do especially when it has become so clear that the employer has decided not to listen to us,” said David Dzatsunga APEX Council Secretary-General.

He said the austerity measures introduced by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube were hurting the common men and women.

A government worker holds a placard during a demonstration against low salaries in Harare 6 November 2019 (Lovejoy Mutongwiza/263Chat)

“Austerity is now for us the poor, we are the ones to bear the burden while those in business and service providers are using interbank rates but when it comes to our salaries, they ignore our plights.

“What is happening is we are being excluded from the economy and we are accepting that because for as long as we keep going to work, they will think we are Ok,” he added.

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Webster Tabvemhiri, a rural teacher said the prevailing salaries were a no match for the market as they continue to be eroded daily, bringing nightmares of 2008 when salaries became useless following a hyper-inflationary environment

“Salaries are now nothing, you can’t buy three bottles of two-litre cooking oil with my salary.

Today I went to a supermarket and I bought a two-litre bottle of oil and plain flour, that cost ZWL$269 and my net salary is now ZWL$300 so I can’t survive with that because I need rent, transport.

“I use ZWL$7 per trip which means ZWL$14 per day. The public buses they introduced are nothing totally,” he told 263Chat.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) President Obert Masaraure said their salaries, which are less than US$30, are no longer “sustainable”  and they have been reduced to “pauper”.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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