- Pensioners earning way below poverty datum line
- Retired civil servants castigate government insensitivity
GOVERNMENT pensioners in February did not receive their Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) salaries alongside civil servants as should be the norm, Zim Morning Post has established.
The pensioners, among them veterans of the Chimurenga War of the 1970s, are the most economically marginalised in society, earning monthly salaries which can hardly purchase four kilograms of beef.
This marginalised group is always the last to be paid as reflected on government salaries calendar, and always go without a gratuity where other civil servants get their 13th cheque or bonus every November.
Pensioners from outside Harare complain of being unconvinced each time they come to the capital for their salaries, at times being forced to sleep at Mbare Musika Bus Terminal.
In an interview with one retired civil servant, who declined to give his identity in order to protect his image, this publication heard that the money government pensioners were receiving was no longer useful, as it was no longer able to meet their day-to-day expenses.
“Imagine if I am being paid ZWL400, what do I do with this pittance. We have a government which is insensitive to the plight of its aged former civil servants. Besides, some of us were retired due to chronic illnesses,” she said.
But a war veteran who retired from the Zimbabwe National Army was more forthcoming, castigating policy makers in government as cruel and selfish.
“We were together with some of these people in the bush war, but now most of them are ‘filthy’ rich and remember nothing about us anymore, only asking us to campaign for them when it is election time,” he bemoaned.
An authoritative source from the Public Service Commission who refused to be named, saying he was not allowed to speak on behalf of the commission, told this publication that government pensioners would receive their salaries backdated to January in March.
On hearing the news, a pensioner in a bank queue for cash since Wednesday said: “It is a good thing that we are going to have our salaries paid in March; and backdated but it has to be hedged against inflation.”
Questions were also send to Douglas Mahiya, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association’s WhatsApp platform, seeking for his comment, while calls to his mobile phone went unanswered before going to Press.