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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 04 MAY 2021 VOL 47 NO 45
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 4th May, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill [H. B. 1A, 2020].
PETITION RECEIVED FROM MR. PATROBS DUBE
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that on 24th March, 2021, Parliament received a petition from Mr. Patrobs Dube beseeching Parliament to assist in the enforcement of court judgments against the Attorney-General and the Public Service Commission. The petition was deemed inadmissible as it dealt with matters which are outside the jurisdiction and mandate of Parliament. The petitioner was advised accordingly.
(v)HON. NDIWENI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. This is a matter of National Interest. Madam Speaker Ma’am, it concerns tobacco farmers. Tobacco farmers are getting a raw deal from merchants. Some of them have delivered their tobacco and for the past one to two weeks, they have not been paid anything. To make matters worse, some of the merchants do not tell the truth to the farmers. Some of the farmers spend days and nights in squalid conditions waiting for their money and with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel we are endangering the lives of our farmers. So I plead that these merchants and the responsible Ministry have a look at the whole ordeal which our farmers are suffering from these merchants and if a remedy could be found for these desperate farmers. Madam Speaker, I so submit.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Ndiweni. I advise you to ask a question tomorrow to the responsible Minister.
(v)HON. NDIWENI: Thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)HON. SARUWAKA: On a point of privilege Madam Speaker. Thank you very much for this opportunity. Madam Speaker, I was burning to present this point of privilege the last time Parliament sat but there was a problem with the host. She or he was blocking me, so I think it is an area that you might want to look at where Members who are on virtual are unable to present their points because the host is blocking them. We cannot all fit in the National Assembly. That was my first point I wanted you to consider.
The second point I wanted to raise Madam Speaker, was to do with a murder that occurred in my constituency, where I rise to formally inform the House of the tragic murder of Grade 1 pupils from St Robert Mbaza Primary School in Mutasa Central Constituency on Tuesday, 13th April. The two pupils, Delan and Melisa Benza were on their way to school when they were brutally murdered and their bodies dumped. The police have since arrested two locals for this crime and they have since appeared in court. My condolences to the relatives, Ward 12 community and the nation at large on the sad loss of these two young and innocent lives.
Madam Speaker, the targeting of young defenceless children by murderers presumably for ritual purposes in Zimbabwe seems to be on the rise. Madam Speaker, you would recall this comes hard on the heels of the murder of young Tapiwa Makore in Murewa last year. He was buried headless this year. Last week in Nyika, I am told a five year old was missing and another six year old was murdered. So we are going through a very difficult period where the lives of young people are being lost. It is therefore my appeal that these misfits living among communities must be plucked out
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Saruwaka, we are very sorry about that unfortunate incident and as Parliament, we condemn it but I am urging you to raise a motion on that.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of privilege Madam Speaker. My point of privilege relates to the unfortunate incidents that happened recently where the Zimbabwe National Army’s helicopter killed two pilots and a technician in the Goromonzi area and in that accident, we also lost one of the first female pilots in the Air Force. Madam Speaker, the accidents involving helicopters of the Air Force have been happening and to that extent, first we want to pay our condolences to our service men and women who are perishing because of these accidents.
Secondly Madam Speaker, I would want the Hon. Minister of Defence and War Veterans to bring a report to the House pertaining to the safety of our service men especially as it relates to these helicopters and the challenges we are facing as a nation pertaining to this issue because one life lost is a precious life that we cannot afford to lose especially at a time when we are not at war. I thank you Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mushoriwa. We are all very sorry about that unfortunate incident. May the deceased’s souls rest in eternal peace. Also, I think the responsible Ministry is going to constitute a commission of enquiry on that. I do not think the Minister can bring in a report before that commission of enquiry has completed its investigations. So we will wait for the commission of enquiry to complete investigations and then maybe from that we may ask the Minister to bring the report to Parliament. Thank you.
(v)HON. NDUNA: On a point of privilege Madam Speaker. Thank you Madam Speaker. I request in the advent of the COVID pandemic that the Minister of Local Government and Public Works who is in charge of licencing of bars and beerhalls comes to the House and gives a Ministerial Statement and proposal for bars and beerhalls to operate like bottle stores, seeing that it has been a year they have been operating but they are still paying for licences and also are now having challenges with their labour. It is my hope and view, and may I also make a clarion call for the Minister responsible for licencing these bars and beerhalls to alleviate the plight of the owners of these businesses before they go under by allowing them to operate as bottle stores so that at least…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, I am advising you to raise a question tomorrow to the responsible Minister. Hon. Members, we will give you time tomorrow to ask your points of privilege. The Minister wants to go somewhere for some business, so please bear with us on that. We will give you time tomorrow Hon. Toffa and Hon. Masango.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 2 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
ADOPTION OF VIRTUAL STANDING ORDERS
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker, I rise to move that:
WHEREAS Section 139 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that the proceedings of the Senate and the National Assembly are regulated by rules known as Standing Orders which are made by the Houses individually or jointly on the recommendation of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders,
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of the Constitution, this House resolves that the virtual Standing Orders be adopted.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 2 to 17 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 18 has been disposed of.
HON. TOFFA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE REPORT OF THE FAMILIARISATION TOUR OF ZIMBABWE’S BORDER POSTS ON THE ORDER PAPER
HON. DR. NYASHANU: Madam Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name that the motion on the Report of the Familiarisation Tour of Zimbabwe’s Border Posts which was superseded by the end of the Second Session be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order No. 75.
HON. DR. KHUPE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: Madam Speaker, I move that we revert back to Order of the Day No. 13.
HON. TOFFA: I second.
HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. My point of order relates of the business of the House. My understanding is that there is supposed to be Business of the House Committee and the way - the manner in which the Business of the House is being conducted is half-hazard, such that there is no proper coordination. I am just wondering whether the business of the House Committee – does it still sit or things just emerge in the House as Hon. Members come in? Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have raised a valid point and I have taken note of that. Thank you.
HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, on the point made by Hon. Mushoriwa, can I seek clarification to that point?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Clarification on what Hon. Gonese?
HON. GONESE: Hon. Mushoriwa raised the issue as to whether the business of the House Committee which is mandated in terms of the Standing Orders is arranging business, not just for the day but also for the Senate. You have indicated that you have just taken note, and my question is that I think Hon. Mushoriwa has specifically asked as to whether the business of the House Committee is meeting and whether it is in charge of arranging the business of the House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, you are not audible.
HON. GONESE: Hon. Speaker, I was just asking if you could perhaps put some pressure. Yes Madam Speaker, I can hear you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Business of the House Committee is still meeting but the Chief Whips have to liaise. Unfortunately today, they are all not in the House.
HON. GONESE: I understand. Let us hope that in the future we will have some order. Thank you Madam Speaker for your response.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 14 and 15 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 16 has been disposed of.
HON. T. MOYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE 2021 VIRTUAL PARLIAMENTARY HEARING AT THE UNITED NATIONS UNDER THE THEME “FIGHTING CORRUPTION TO RESTORE TRUST IN GOVERNMENT AND IMPROVE DEVELOPMENT PROSPECTS
HON. MAVENYENGWA: I move the motion standing in my name:
That this House takes note of the Report of the 2021 Virtual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations under the theme “Fighting corruption to restore trust in government and improve development prospects held on the 17th and 18th February 2021.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mavenyengwa, you are not audible. I think we lost him completely.
(v) *HON. CHINOTIMBA: Point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Member?
HON. CHINOTIMBA: Madam Speaker, I think that those Members who want to debate on a motion should be in the House physically rather than to be on virtual. Already we have lost another speaker Hon. Chingosho and now we have lost debate from Hon. Mavenyengwa. I thank you Madam Speaker.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chinotimba. That is a very noble idea and I agree with you. Those who would want to debate on a motion, we encourage them to come in the House because we have network challenges in many areas. Thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the House reverts to Order of the Day Number 14 on Today’s Order Paper.
HON. T. MOYO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PROVISION OF NON-MONETARY BENEFITS FOR ALL GOVERNMENT WORKERS
HON. MADHUKU: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I move the motion standing in my name;
That this House;
APPLAUDING the commitment by Government to provide salary increases to civil servants from time to time to mitigate the impact of inflation caused by the vicissitudes of the economic environment;
COGNISANT that the resources provided by the Government are always limited and do not meet the expectations of the civil servants and other public officers;
RECALLING that in a bid to improve the conditions of service for its workers, Government has passed resolutions on the need to introduce non-monetary benefits as a way of augmenting the paltry salaries that civil servants earn to cushion their livelihoods under the prevailing harsh economic conditions;
NOW THEREFORE, CALLS upon the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Public Service Commission to provide non-monetary incentives to all Government workers, the majority of whom have nothing to take home at retirement to show for their illustrious services as civil and public officers;
FURTHER RECOMMENDS that non-monetary benefits be given in the form of land and personal vehicles for those who have been in the civil service for periods in excess of twenty-five years.
HON. T. MOYO: I second.
HON. MADHUKU: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to move this motion on non-monetary incentives for civil servants. By way of introduction, all over the world, governments are grappling with the provision of high quality public goods necessary to support economic growth and development. Such services include health, education, security and many others offered by civil servants. However, the effectiveness and quality of these services depends on the performance of people who deliver them, that is the civil servants. Motivation is very critical for frontline public officials who make great sacrifices for their country and also achievement of SDGs which envisage the world where everyone has access to basic public goods depends on a motivated workforce.
The Zimbabwean Government has some constitutional obligations to its civil servants and these are; the Government is sensitive to Section 65 (1), (4) and (5) (a) that talk of fair labour practices and reasonable wage, just, equitable and satisfactory conditions of work and also engagement in collective bargaining.
The National Development Strategy Number 1 (NDS 1) - this agenda also clearly articulates that achievement of NDS1 depends on efforts and work of a motivated workforce in the public sector and that regular reviews of remuneration will be prioritised to maintain real wage levels. This is paragraph 237. Therefore, the Second Republic is dealing with these issues even for Vision 2030.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me refer to the research which was carried out by the Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE). It says that low motivation is the major factor in Africa’s human resource crisis and the reasons proffered as to why the morale of public service employees is declining are; reduced salaries, insufficient equipment or resources to effectively perform duties, dysfunctional Government budgets and also pressure to remain effective whilst resources plus costs are cut. Understaffed workplaces plus insufficient resources lead to service failures.
Let me also look at one of the needs theories and this one was propounded by Abraham Maslow; the needs theory says that motivation is the result of a person’s attempt to fulfilling five basic needs which are; physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation. So in all humans and in order to live a worthwhile life, basic needs like food, water, shelter, warm clothes, rest, safety and security must be met first before psychological needs like love and belongingness and esteem needs are met. According to Maslow, these needs are very critical because they can create internal pressures in a person. Besides this, they can also create a disequilibrium that can negatively influence a person’s behaviour at work. This therefore affects commitment, efficiency and effectiveness.
Let me look at Zimbabwe Government’s challenges to lucratively pay its civil servants. Like many other governments worldwide, Zimbabwe is facing some economic challenges like the decades long economic sanctions that have greatly disabled and incapacitated Zimbabwe. Besides these, we have faced many natural disasters including cyclones - Cyclone Eline, Idai and so on. Currently, we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, alarming gaps in remuneration and other packs exist between public and private sector employees despite similar or comparable educational qualifications, hence the need to try to pursue and incorporate the non-monetary incentives option to augment meager salaries.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me point out that this option is not meant to put a stop or a comma to salary reviews but what are non-monetary incentives? These are rewards that are not directly associated with financial means. These are innovative non-financial incentive schemes that have the potential to help the Government raise the performance in a cost effective manner. These incentives should be envy-inducing in order to be valuable to employees. An effective incentive package should have the following characteristics; it should be realistic, have clear objectives, fair, equitable as well as reflect the needs of employees and also include both financial and non-financial components.
Why non-monetary incentives or benefits? It is because they focus on building and emotional connection with employees. Besides this, they also enhance employee engagements, loyalty and job performance. Individual behaviour and motivation can be greatly influenced by alternative and cost-friendly non-financial motivating factors. It has been noted that employees’ expectations are much higher these days. Employees want to do things and want to have things. They want something tangible they can always remember in life even after retirement. This is very critical Madam Speaker Ma’am, hence the claim that we have to look for these non-monetary incentives option.
Let me look at the proposals for civil servants non-monetary benefits. These may include but not limited to portions of farm land for agricultural purposes, mining syndicates, also Housing schemes. Let me add here that these housing schemes can be monthly contributions made by civil servants so that they own something and have something under their roof when they leave work.
We are also talking about a meaningful and robust contributory health scheme and under this we are talking of one that nearly or wholly covers 100% of all health related costs, including medical consultations and all procedures by doctors and drugs. A scheme that is acceptable even by private specialist. One that is completely silent about shortfalls. This is the scheme Madam Speaker, which civil servants are yearning for, a life scheme that is usable and friendly, a robust one which can be used even after when one has retired from work, claiming for a scheme which continues to be useful and covering the health needs of civil servants. Madam Speaker, this is because when one leaves work, he or she is now in more need of such assistance as one will not be having a monthly salary. As one ages I think there are more health problems which are cropping up in one’s life,hence the need for this robust medical scheme, one that does not drive retirees into abject poverty and destitution.
We are also talking about a comprehensive funeral cover, Madam Speaker, and also a disability cover, a once off easily accessible duty free vehicle scheme, free or subsidised accommodation, water, electricity, daily transport costs to work and from work for all those not staying at their work places. I am also proposing free or discounted parking and tollgate fees and also availing domestic goods and programmes like solar projects. I am talking about such schemes where civil servants, if they have or amass these things, they will be useful even after leaving work.
I am also talking about voucher schemes, free WiFi, especially at work places because the use of wifi and these gadgets is no longer a luxury. After all, many of these civil servants use wifi at work to enhance their effectiveness in the delivery of services. So we are talking about free wifi at work, access to other programmes like the Presidential Inputs Schemes, inputs for those with small fields. I think, Madam Speaker, what we are talking about here is that if such schemes are availed to civil servants, it is also improved food security. So it is critical that we have an extension of these programmes to these civil servants.
Madam Speaker, after having said this, let me conclude and say that this motion is aiming at enhancing or improving the performance and efficiency of civil servants and also a motivated civil service produces better results. So we are trying to aim and ensure that all civil servants who are front line workers who work so hard for their country and make great sacrifices and sometimes take their meager salaries and supplement what the Government is doing, are helped. So many times we have seen a lot of these civil servants taking their meager salaries to ensure that they perform their work to the best of their abilities, subsidising Government. So in this respect, Madam Speaker, we are saying let us look at some of these non-monetary incentives so that we can help motivate them to effectively carry out their duties.
Madam Speaker, I am not saying from the list I have given let us adopt all of these recommendations, but we can select some incentives falling within the budgetary capabilities of our Government. These can be considered. I have already said that we are very much cognisant of the fact that our Government is incapacitated, there are so many challenges but we can look at some of those which we can make use of in order to motivate the civil service, our front line workers, most of whom are even actually prone to COVID-19 in the performance of their duties. So Madam Speaker, it is my call that we look at some of these incentives. I thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I wish to second the motion raised by Hon. Madhuku on the importance of non monetary incentives for civil servants who include but not limited to teachers.
Madam Speaker, it is prudent that the Zimbabwean Government, in addition to the salaries which are paid to all civil servants, should be provided with non-monetary incentives. This is done to motivate the workers. We are aware that the salaries of most Government workers to them do not meet their requirements and as a result some of the teachers have propounded what they call incapacitation theories. It is a way of pushing the Government to address their salary discrepancies.
Now it is my call Madam Speaker, to support the motion raised by Hon. Madhuku. Motivation of workers is very important indispensible and significant in a number of ways. I will make this quotation – ‘employee motivation is key to any organisation’s success’. It is the level of commitment, drive and energy that a company’s workers bring to their role every day. Without it, companies may experience reduced productivity, lower levels of out output and it is likely that the company will fall short of reaching important goals. We have noticed that civil servants, particularly teachers, are demotivated and according to the hierarchy of needs theory, it is important that Government employees be motivated by being given such incentives. For those workers to attain the highest level of actualisation - there is need for the Government to give them free monetary incentives.
These incentives include the following: I need to applaud the Zimbabwean Government for allowing civil servants to import duty free cars and that is one of the incentive that we have witnessed that those incentives are being given to civil servants especially teachers to import cars free of duty. Another way of motivating teachers is to allocate them stands in urban cities. They are going to acquire those stands at no cost. Those stands which have got value, title deeds and they can use the stands as a way of accessing loans to construct or to do other things. That is one way of motivating our civil servants.
There is need for us parliamentarians to advocate for housing for all civil servants by year 2030 if such a thing can happen. I will repeat, housing for all civil servants by 2030 whereby the Government can make a deliberate effort to provide decent housing for civil servants by year 2030 as we fulfill the President’s vision of a middle income economy. By middle income economy, we would expect all civil servants to have been provided with decent accommodation and it is my clarion call that those civil servants should be provided with decent housing. I am happy that the Ministry of Housing is making some deliberate efforts to provide housing for every Zimbabwean in Zimbabwe so that by 2030, everyone will have house ownership.
Another way of motivating our workers is through the implementation of the Land Audit Report. It was finalised and what is left is to implement. I am aware that in the Midlands Province, 560 farms are earmarked for resettlement of farmers. Among those people who are going to be prioritised in terms of allocation of land. I am talking of Midlands Province because I come from the Midlands Province. All Government employees in the Midlands Province and other provinces should be prioritised in the allocation of arable land for productivity. That is very crucial Madam Speaker as a way of motivating our workers.
There must be title for that kind of land. I think the 99 year leases should be bankable whereby civil servants who are going to be beneficiaries of such land are able to use that land as a title to acquire loans or anything that will bring about productivity to their families. It is a proposal and another suggestion is that children of civil servants, particularly children of teachers, should be exempted from payment of tuition fees especially those attending Government or council schools.
I am aware that if you are a university lecturer, at that particular university - I will give an example of my children. If they attend the University of Zimbabwe, they will be exempted from tuition fees because I happen to be a senior lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. The same would apply to teachers. Those children of teachers attending schools where their parents are teaching should be exempted from payment of tuition as a way of motivating those teachers.
I will now turn to civil servants in rural areas. There is need for hardship allowances for such teachers and civil servants. Most of the civil servants prefer to work in Harare and Bulawayo and all those major cities and most of the teachers who are deployed to rural areas just work for a few months then they transfer to areas that are proximity to towns and cities. As a way of encouraging workers to prefer to be deployed to rural areas, I suggest that a kind of an allowance be paid to such civil servants as a way of motivating them.
In conclusion, the motion is very important in the sense that once civil servants have access to non-monetary incentives, that is a way of motivating them. We would have met expectations of Maslow the psychologist who talks of the hierarchy of needs theory and that brings about job satisfaction to the civil servants and that is very important particularly in bringing about productivity in ending what is called incapacitation by civil servants. That has to be implemented if we want to satisfy the needs of our works in Zimbabwe. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would want to thank Hon. Madhuku for the motion that he has moved and I also want to thank Hon. Moyo for his debate. Firstly, I want to agree with the two Hon. Members that our civil servants and public servants are getting meager salaries. I am glad that this motion has been moved, primarily because it brings open what we have been hearing over the past two years. We have been hearing that the Government is making a surplus budget and we have been hearing sentiments from the Executive sometimes that the civil servants who are crying that they are incapacitated, are there to derail Government efforts. Madam Speaker, this motion lays bare the real truth. The truth of the matter is that our civil servants are facing huge challenges. It is actually true that if you talk to any “hwindi” or any other person who did not go to school, they actually laugh at the plight of our civil servants. When we grew up, working for Government was a noble thing. It was something that many people yearned for.
Madam Speaker, my only point of departure from Hon. Madhuku is that civil servants do require non-monetary issues but the most important thing that civil servants require is a salary which can actually help them to live a normal life. They need to be paid adequate salaries. This is what reminds you that this should actually be the centre piece of this motion.
Civil servants have been complaining. I remember teachers complaining that all they simply want is a salary which equates to what they used to earn during the US dollar era converted to the RTGs equivalent. That is the cry of the teachers, nurses and every civil servant. For us to argue to say that non-monetary incentives should be given in lieu of adequate salaries, for me it is not good enough. It is not good enough Madam Speaker because civil servants are not homogenous. They are individuals with different taste, goals and ambitions. If you give civil servants, for instance, land to farm, others do not want to farm but want to farm in OK. The best thing that we should do as Parliament is to make sure that civil servants are awarded at least at the same level that they were given before the introduction of the RTGs or before the introduction of the Statutory Instrument that wiped out their salaries.
Madam Speaker, salary is the biggest motivating factor. Looking at the results, first it was the Grade 7, the A’ Level and now the O’ Level. There has been a decline in the pass rate. Most of the students that are passing are not passing because they are being taught at schools but because they have been doing private lessons. There is a saying that if you pretend to be paying your workers, they also pretend to be working. This is the situation that is happening in Zimbabwe. Our civil servants are just going to work as a routine. They are not happy Madam Speaker. If you look not very far away - look at Parliament staff, are they happy? The answer is no. We have got professionals; people that went to school and some to the level of doctorate who are at this Parliament but are earning meager salaries; salaries that cannot even compare with someone who is a messenger in other organisations.
We now have workers who are earning less than US$200. How can we have a civil servant working for that little money? Civil servants are supposed to be the oil in the engine of the Government. These are the people that are supposed to keep the engine running. If you pretend not to see the plight of civil servants, then we will not go forward. It is unfortunate that as we debate this motion, those civil servants who were crying for lack of capacity, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services has been busy out there threatening them. How would you threaten a hungry person? How would you threaten a hungry civil servant? It is like threatening your own child. There is no food in the house and there is nothing to drink and you take a stick and start beating that child to say let us go and weed the fields. It is unfair.
In my humble submission Madam Speaker, Hon. Madhuku had actually observed the correct position. Our civil servants are not properly remunerated. However, your solution of non-monetary benefits in place of real, tangible salary; to me it should have actually come as a complementary. Your motion should have advocated for adequate remuneration for our civil servants and thereafter we go for the non-monetary to support a proper salary, a salary that a civil servant will be in a position to move with.
Right now Madam Speaker, if you want to know that this one is a civil servant or not, just look at clothing that they put on, the schools that their kids attend and also the lunch that they take. If you go to OK First Street or TM, just check during lunch hour what other workers will be buying from those shops and what our own civil servants, including our staff at Parliament will be buying. They will be buying buns or scones whilst others buy proper meals. Our civil servants deserve to get paid adequate money.
To that extent, I want to thank Hon. Members that debated before me. Your eyes have been opened just like they say in Shona, “vana vembwa havasvinure musi mumwe chete” but I am glad that at least you are joining us, who have been advocating to simply say let us not pretend that all is well with our civil servants. Let our civil servants be paid adequately so that they perform their work properly. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am. A very good afternoon to you. I want to acknowledge the good work that has been done by Hon. Madhuku.
(v) HON. NDEBELE: Madam Speaker, on a point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Member.
(v) HON. NDEBELE: I am far from the House but could you confirm the Hon. Member is wearing a leather jacket and that it is now part of Parliamentary dress Madam Speaker Ma’am?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Munetsi, I am sorry leather jackets are not formal dressing. Thank you for your understanding. Thank you Hon. Ndebele.
HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to add my voice on incentives for teachers. Teachers do a lot of work and all of us here are products of teachers. When we send our children to school, we expect them to bring some good results….
Hon. Kwaramba having been off the virtual platform.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Kwaramba, you are not connected.
HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to add my voice to this very important debate on incentives for teachers. Teachers do a lot of good work and most of us here are products of teachers. Now, when we send our children to school, we expect them to bring some good results but these results should come from people who are satisfied with their work. We have heard from time immemorial that teachers are poorly paid, they have been complaining and have been subject of ridicule. When everyone is discussing, you hear people saying, ‘ah, teachers or civil servants are poorly paid’ and so on, but we forget the good work that they do.
Personally, I think teachers should be rewarded for the work that they do, starting from monetary incentives that have been mentioned. I want to say when teachers produce good results at school, they should be rewarded. When we were doing visits around, we heard parents saying children were attending school for about four days in a month. Now, this shows the disgruntlement that teachers have. As long as teachers are not well-paid, we will continue to have poor results. We will continue to have teachers going to work but not doing any work.
We have heard the Government saying that they now have a new policy which says, ‘no work, no pay.’ What are we seeing? Teachers only attend classes but they just go and sit, they do not do anything. We are also reading that some parents are paying teachers privately and it is those lucky pupils who have parents who can afford, that are attending lessons. Some pupils only attend lessons for only four days in a month, but those with parents who can pay are attending classes every day.
We also have heard the Government saying they have stopped private lessons, teachers were benefitting from these private lessons. As a result, we were also getting very good results because they were doing their work privately and we were getting good results. I do not know why these private lessons were stopped but for me I think these were very good because we were getting good results.
We have the Land Reform Programme and I feel it is very important for teachers to be given small portions of land so that they can work to augment their salaries. In most cases, teachers are not considered. When the social welfare goes around giving food, I think teachers should also be considered. It is not only monetary but those few things will improve the lives of teachers.
On the issue of cars, I understand the Government has now banned the importation of cars which are 10 years and above, but looking at the salaries of teachers, you find that they cannot even afford to buy cars. It means they will never be able to buy cars. Yesterday, I met one teacher when I was coming here to Harare who was saying we are being paid $22 000 and when that money is pegged and changed to US dollars, it is equivalent to US$120. He was also bemoaning the fact that one Parliamentary Member here stood up to say, ‘we are getting so much and it is not enough.’ The teacher was saying, but how can a parliamentarian say they are getting that much and it is not enough, what about civil servants like us?
I want to say, when teachers complain that they are incapacitated, I feel we should listen to them and answer their plight instead of coming up with some policies which punish them. It is us parents who are going to suffer because those teachers are not going to teach. They will just go and sit and our children will fail and we get poor results. Remember what happened to the Grade Seven results, they were very poor. The Ordinary Level results are out and I was listening to the radio and heard that the results are not as good.
What sort of a generation are we going to produce, a generation of failures, pupils who have failed. How do they proceed to university, how are they going to pass? We expect to see graduates, how are we going to have graduates when their background – when they have not even passed their Grade Seven, they have not passed Ordinary Level and they have not passed Advanced Level. I think we are killing the education system if we continue denying teachers what they need. I feel teachers should get a salary, a living salary which is above the Poverty Datum Line (PDL). I can go on and on, it is something that really pains me because I am also coming from the education profession. I feel teachers should be rewarded accordingly.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me yet another chance to air my views on this good debate. I also want to thank Hon. Ndebele for correcting me to put on a nice jacket like this one, wherever he is.
I believe when you work, you need a salary, you cannot work and not get a salary that is enough for what you will have worked for. I have been in the civil service fraternity for some time and I feel the first thing that must be done is to change the word ‘servant,’ because maybe that is what makes them to be given a very low salary because they think they are servants. Another English equivalent word must be sought; I am just doing loud thinking.
Salaries for civil servants are very low, far much lower than is expected, hence, we get very little work being done also which equates to the salaries that they get. Discussions about civil servants’ salaries have been made; they were done several times before but to no avail. I think it is high time now that the Government sits down now and seriously think about civil servants salary. I look at the type of work that is done by teachers, nurses and doctors; they are all life savers. If you look at the nature of work that these people do and if you equate the salary of a teacher to the type of work that they do, you will discover that we are not doing any good service to them. We are looking at a teacher who is making a child start to write from scratch until they are able to speak good English. To date, we can speak good English, everyone here and we can dress properly. I can see Hon. Dr. Khupe there, she speaks good English and this came from a teacher, but look at the teachers’ salaries. They are very, very low.
So, such types of things should be considered and give due salaries to people who do such type of good work. If you look at nurses and doctors, they save lives. Go to any hospital, clinic and anywhere, people come there to have their lives saved. That is not easy and then we just look aside and not give a good salary to such types of people; it is unfair. Civil servants, let me say there are certain things that we must also do to civil servants. People have spoken about land, giving them land both in town and in the rural areas. They can be given stands and some houses in town now. When we talk of houses in town, we are saying if the Government can be able to build houses for civil servants and give them for free and then they also give them a piece of land out in the rural areas where they come from, that will do a lot good to them. It is quite a big incentive to those people because they know they have a house in town at least and also they have some piece of land in the rural areas.
I think to me this is good, certain allowances should also be given to civil servants across the board. I look at hardship allowances for those who work in the civil service I disagree though with people who think that if someone is a civil servant and works in town, life is easy, it is not. I think it is even better for someone who is in the rural areas because things are a bit cheaper out there. If someone is in Chitungwiza and teaches in Mufakose and would want to get and board two commuter buses everyday back and forth, then life is not easy. If that person is renting an apartment, paying electricity, water bills and transportation and looking at the salaries that they get, then the person is left with nothing. So, life is not easy for civil servants even those working in towns. Those who are working in the rural areas can just walk from their home that the school has built to a classroom. There is no transportation and at times they get some free vegetables and so forth. It is a lot easier for those people although it is hard for them to be teaching out there, hence they should be given that hardship allowance.
I feel civil servants should also be given food hampers to augment their salaries; some food hampers with basic needs that a person consumes per month would be good for them. I also look at some clothing allowances for civil servants. Most of the times teachers are putting on some jackets, shirts, tie and shoes which they buy from their little salary that they get. So, if there could be some form of allowances for clothing for them. I am not saying a uniform for teachers but clothing allowances with can allow them on top of their salary to go and buy a shirt, a pair of trousers per month and a pair of shoes, I would think that would save quite well for civil servants. I also look at some funeral cover for all civil servants, not a cover which ends when a person dies. I am looking at a funeral cover which covers the family even if the person working dies, the funeral cover should cover the remaining spouse and the children till death. That can also help to easy life for the civil servant.
On pensions, are you aware that now some people do not even go and get their monies from the bank. It is not enough to get the money board a bus, buy something and go back home. It is not enough. They just leave it there for some months then after 6 to 7 months, they go and withdraw the pension of not more than 10 000 RTGs, which is very unrealistic for someone who has been working for such a long time.
I also applaud the issue of fees exemption for civil servants’ children in schools if that could be looked into, it is a good thing to consider. I have always wondered about the type of future our kids are going to live from this era when teachers are not teaching properly and the results are very low. Very poor results are coming out but those children still need to live a life after. What are they going to do? It is simply because what is being accorded to civil servants is not enough.
Let me end by saying I have always wondered - there is a good scheme for civil servants for borrowing in shops like Topics and Edgars, very good scheme. I have always wondered why the Government cannot formulate such a scheme for civil servants where they can get whatever they want from Government and then they pay back to Government. Why is it being done by other players and not the Government, very good scheme, I can go to topics right now and come back with a new suite right now before sunset. I cannot do that to the Government to get some to buy whatever I want.
If such type of schemes can be turned over and be done by Government to civil servants, that will serve quite a lot, I thank you.
(v)* HON. CHINOTIMBA: Let us look at the plight of civil servants and not ignore them. We are not only looking at teachers but the police and the army, nurses and those who work in Government offices. They are not earning reasonable salaries. When we talk about certain issues, let us address them and not have a talk show than to wait for them to go on strike. As Members of Parliament, I want to thank you that you have finally given an ear to their plight. Half the time we do not look at the challenges that teachers face as civil servants. Teachers are important such that even the former President, Cde Mugabe started off as a teacher.
However, as teachers negotiate their salaries, it is not right for them to be comparing themselves with other civil servants in various fields such as the police and uniformed forces. They should negotiate for salary increase as a team. The salaries are inadequate, especially for those in rural areas. The current exchange rate is US$1 to 130 RTGs and that is the rate that is being used by most shops, except shops such as OK who do not use the black market rate. Such shops require that you pay what they charge. It is a ‘take it or leave it’ game. I want to thank the mover of the motion. We expect immediate action to be taken on the matter, even if it means Minister Mthuli Ncube be called into the House to answer questions and to address the matter. At one time, Hon. M. Ncube said that the Government has a surplus. How can you talk of surplus when the standard of living for the majority has not improved and they are earning peanuts?
So I want to thank the mover of the motion as we are debating this in one accord. I heard one Member saying that we are not in one accord but no one wants civil servants to struggle. We also want them to buy cattle, goats and to be empowered. I still remember a teacher who raised a complaint when he was given a token of appreciation in the form of a goat. We are saying if one has performed exceptionally well it is good to appreciate. Some teachers have produced very good results at grade seven level, so they need to be appreciated. I do not have much to say but I join my colleagues in that we need to look at the plight of the civil servants. I am looking at all professions in the civil service - teachers, police, armed forces, health sector and so on. We cannot have security guards earning more than the ZRP. By the nature of their jobs they should be given more money. Everyone has passed through the hands of teachers. Even you Hon. Speaker, had it not been the work of a teacher you would not be where you are seated today. For the President to be where he is today, it is because he passed through the hands of a teacher. Let us address their plight to improve their standard of living.
Currently, PSMAS is failing to provide medical services. If you go and seek medical attention it requires you to pay a shortfall. I want to thank the trade unionists who represent civil servants. We have heard their plight as Hon. Members and they should continue nagging us in order for their challenges to be addressed. I thank you.
HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Maam. First of all, I would like to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Madhuku and all other Hon. Members who have debated before me. This is a very important motion. I support the issue of non-monetary incentives to our civil servants 100%. However, like what Hon. Mushoriwa said, these non-monetary incentives must come as a complimentary effort over and above their salaries. What is an incentive Madam Speaker? An incentive is something which is given to somebody in order for that person to be motivated or to be encouraged so that they do more. Non-monetary incentives must be given to civil servants so that they are encouraged or motivated to do more. The sad reality right now is that our civil servants do not have anything. Their salaries are paltry. They cannot do anything meaningful with their salaries.
Madam Speaker, if I compare a teacher of yester-years and a teacher of nowadays, they are very different. I come from a background of a family which has got teachers. My father was a teacher and they were getting paid on the 25th of every month. We would know that on 25th of each month when our mother coming off the bus we will happy because we know we are going to get cream doughnuts and other things. My young sister is a teacher and it is
HON. DR. KHUPE (SPKING)…it is phone calls every day, problem after problem. My young sister was a teacher but now she is sitting at home. She is a degreed person, she has got a masters degree. She could not afford even bus fare so she decided to stay at home. I am raising these issues, Madam Speaker, so that we take issues of civil servants seriously.
Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe is known to be a country which has a high literacy rate, had a very good health system and a country which is so quiet, which is peaceful. So this is why many people wanted to live in Zimbabwe because they knew that in Zimbabwe you are very free. You would walk at night, leave your house open and no one will do anything because we knew that our police officers would do their jobs 100%. If you felt sick and you walked into a hospital, you knew that the moment you walked into a hospital, you would be well because our nurses and doctors would treat you, handle you with care so that you say I have never seen this. You knew that if you sent your children to school, they would be educated and they would be graduates and get a job, but look at what is happening right now Madam Speaker.
Look at our pass rates. In some areas zero pass rate. Why is it so, because our teacher’s salaries do not mean anything. Even those teachers who were teaching in the rural areas, you knew that this homestead belonged to a teacher, this homestead belonged to a headmaster because they were beautiful. These people had good lives but look at teachers right now. They have been reduced to destitute. Madam Speaker, a speaker who spoke before me said we are where we are right now because of teachers. Teachers are the ones who build the foundation of the future of our children because we know that if your child is educated, they are guaranteed of getting a job and a better life at the end of the day.
We know that a healthy nation produces but an unhealthy nation cannot produce, Madam Speaker. We know that a nation which is safe people come and invest in your country because they know that our security forces are on the alert all the time. People will come and put their money, but look at what is happening. Police officers are receiving bribes every day. Why is it so? Is it because they are trying to supplement their salaries.
Just as we were doing our feedback meetings, one of the Hon. Members saw one police officer receiving a bribe. Is this what our police officers want? No. Madam Speaker, what this is pointing to is that we must pay our civil servants well so that they perform well over and above their salaries then they can be given these other incentives. yes, let them be given land and mining claims, but you know that with land and mining claims it is not all the teachers, police officers, doctors and nurses who are going to be given farms and mining claims.
So some of these things as we talk about them, yes they are very good, but the first port of call, Madam Speaker, is that our civil servants must be remunerated well. We must give them priority. This is why even if it is the United Nations or it is the African Union or SADC, they always say education, agriculture and health must be given higher budgets because they know that your economies rest around these three pillars. If you have got a healthy nation, an educated nation and a safe nation, you know that many people will come and invest in your country. Madam Speaker, with these few words I support the motion. I would like to urge Government and say please Government, can we pay our civil servants a living wage. Let their wages be matched with the cost of living, let their wages be matched to the poverty datum line so that they are able to raise their families well so that they have a better life. I rest my case.
*HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to add my voice to the motion that was raised by Hon. Madhuku and seconded by Hon. T. Moyo. Firstly, I want to thank the Government for listening to the plight of the workers, especially when they ask for a raise in remuneration. I think that the Government should take note of some of these measures and what we are saying is that these are non monetary benefits and it can assist the civil servants in the little money that they are getting.
The Government put in place a duty free vehicle scheme, but I think that the 10 years that they have put for one to have served the Government is a long time and I think the Government should reduce these years to five years for one to be eligible to buy a car using the duty free facility. We have heard that others stay far from urban areas and need transport to these CBDs. So for that person to serve 10 years before they can access the scheme is not right. I think this should be reviewed from 10 years to five years in service.
It is painful as a teacher if you work for the Government that you are unable to pay fees for your own child but you are educating other people’s children. I think the Government should assist the teachers in terms of educating their children in these schools. If you look at the nurses, the nurses can also fall sick and have to pay very high amounts for medical procedures. Government should also assist those in the health sector who face challenges in acquiring the required money to undergo medical operations.
If you go to hospitals, you are requested to pay a shortfall, so civil servants are experiencing a lot of challenges. I think the Government should look into this and ensure that it enables civil servants to access medical services. If we look at the ZRP, they have challenges in terms of accommodation. This affects their professionalism because they cannot arrest the landlord when he does wrong because of this. What we want is for them not to live in those residential areas, but should be afforded their own accommodation so that they are able to perform their duties professionally without corruption. So the Government should come in.
On the issue of study leave, we want our nation to develop but we realise that the Government no longer supports anyone on study leave. What we requested for the Government is to take up the practice that was there before in taking up the fees and assisting those taking study leave. Government should assist in that respect. I thank you Madam Speaker.
+HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you for allowing me to contribute to this motion. I would like to appreciate Hon. Madhuku for bringing this motion to this august House because as I am speaking, I do not know whether you are aware that children are not receiving enough education. They only go to school twice per week. I do not know whether you are aware of that.
As we talk about this motion this is a situation that is happening on the ground. I am wondering whether Government is aware that doctors and nurses are leaving the country going to other countries because of poor remuneration, despite being trained by Government.
I would also like to talk about civil servants who are not being properly remunerated. Most civil servants are living miserably, some do not afford proper medication because medical aid charges are beyond their means. Every time a civil servant visits a hospital, they are expected to pay a shortfall. Even Members of this august House as Hon. MPs, we do not afford proper medical care.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, civil servants across the divide should be able to get medical attention without any hassles. We contribute large amounts of money every month towards medical aid and I believe that this should cover all medical expenses.
Let me also talk about those in the teaching profession who are expected to pay fees for their own children but earning meager salaries. We have noted Madam Speaker Ma’am, that in most schools, there are no PPEs. I visited a number of schools disbursing CDF funds and projects and I noted that there are only buckets and soaps in most schools for washing hands. I also noticed that the PPE situation is improving in most schools. There are supposed to be adequate masks in schools so that on the opening day, everything is in place.
Civil servants are earning meager salaries which cannot cater for all their basic needs. Their salaries are only enough for transport fares to take them to work and back home. So, I would like to implore Government to intervene in this regard, especially for teachers because everyone is a product of teachers. The new generation is being prejudiced. What do we expect them to do and how do we expect them to live. You have noted Madam Speaker Ma’am, that in some schools, Grade 7s recorded a zero percent pass rate. The O’ Level results are also not very pleasing because teachers are not properly remunerated. It is important to make sure that every civil servant is in a conducive environment with incentives and a motivating salary.
Every good and service Madam Speaker Ma’am, needs foreign currency, so most teachers are forced to go to the black market to buy foreign currency using their local earnings. In most cases, the rate is not favourable but they still go ahead and buy foreign currency so that they pay their bills and pay school fees for their children. In my own point of view, I believe that they should be empowered through adequate salaries. This is their plight which we bring before this august House and it is my humble submission that Government should intervene in this issue so that teachers will go back to class so that our children are able to learn every school day. It might take a long time for children to catch up with the syllabus but it is necessary to do so.
It is very difficult for civil servants to adapt to the current economic environment. Their plight is quite deplorable. What they need is an adequate salary which will meet their needs. If this happens, then I believe that service delivery will improve drastically. If given the salaries they are requesting from Government, then I believe that they are capable of discharging their duty with fortitude. This should apply to all civil servants who will be satisfied.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I concur with other speakers who have spoken in this House that civil servants deserve to be given proper remuneration so that they perform well. This will be to the advantage of the economic development of Zimbabwe. Otherwise, you will discover that most of the times, they will just be wiling up time, not performing well at their different workplaces. This will have negative effects on our children and the general populace. Government should look into the plight of civil servants so that Zimbabwe reclaims its former glory. I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
*HON. MAVETERA: Thank you Madam Speaker for awarding me this opportunity today to air my views on the debate. My mother was a teacher and she was the best teacher. When we grew up, we knew that a teacher’s child was given respect due to the position and status the parent held, but right now it is a sorry state because that respect and even the position in society is no longer there. What we used to do in the past is no longer happening nowadays and even the importance of education is no longer being considered.
When we are at our work places doing different duties, teachers are the ones who will be having our children at school teaching them moral lessons of life. Today I am very happy because we received our O level results. Teachers help school children to know their future. My child, Tadiwa Mavetera scored 20 A’s There is another child called Chikwanda from Goromonzi who scored 18 A’s. It means we are seeing the job of teachers and the results of their work. Teachers are dedicated in the future of our kids. As Government, we must see what we can do concerning the issue of salaries and the welfare of civil servants.
The plea of teachers is - they teach someone’s kid but their salaries do not allow them to pay school fees for their own children. I thank Hon. Madhuku for raising this motion. Right now, it is an opportunity for us to help teachers so that they get incentives for them to be able to send their children to school without paying any school fees. What is painful Madam Speaker, is that you are teaching someone’s child whilst you cannot afford to send your own child to school. I sat down and criticised the way in which negotiations of teachers’ salaries is being held, that includes the rest of civil servants.
I think everything has its own stages. We cannot match a teacher or group teachers, soldiers and police officers in the same category. Every civil servant must be allowed to negotiate on their category. If they are teachers, police officers, soldiers - they must negotiate on their own. If we are saying teachers must get incentives to be able to send their children to school, it will only be applicable to teachers and does not apply to soldiers. Therefore, each category of civil servants must be able to negotiate for their salaries. Police officers fall in a different category, same applies to soldiers. Even the way they are recruited; teachers, soldiers and police officers is different from other civil servants. There is need for them to negotiate according to the nature of their jobs. If it is teachers, let their issues be discussed focusing on them alone.
Let me go on to the issue of police officers. If I am a police officer and am also a lodger; if my landlord illegally sells drinks, am I going to sue my landlord? I cannot sue my landlord because that is where I stay with my family. I will end up violating the rules of my job because I want accommodation. Police officers end up violating the rules due to the salaries they get.
If we are looking at the issue of Mozambique - it is a country which is near us. If today what is happening in Mozambique, say it is a war, it will end up spilling into Zimbabwe. I am saying let us try by all means to help our police officers and soldiers because they are the ones who protect us as a country. I also want to thank His Excellency the President, for his commitment in trying to resolve the issue of civil servants salaries.
We spoke here in Parliament and we said that there must be cars like the Datsun-Go that must be given to police officers but these cars are not usable to all areas. Where I come from in Chikomba, these cars cannot be driven there due to bad roads. Although these roads are being refurbished right now, police officers end up not being able to execute their duties well because of lack of proper equipment to use. Let us give incentives to civil servants so that they can perform their duties properly.
Lastly, let us not compromise the performance of civil servants. Let us stick together with civil servants and work together so that they can perform well in their duties. Let us go back and negotiate with them so that our country can move forward to achieve Vision 2030 which was enunciated by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa. Vision 2030 is only achievable if we work together with civil servants and working together as a whole country. Thank you Madam Speaker, for according me this opportunity to debate on this motion. I am expecting a pizza since my child has performed well.
*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to speak on this motion. I got in the House when debate had already started. When I saw the motion on the Order Paper, I said to myself that I would debate on it. This motion came after the Workers’ Day Celebration which was held on the 1st of May, 2021. Zimbabwean workers, in particular civil servants who fall under Government are known to be hard workers. If you look at Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa even in the UK and America, you find Zimbabweans in all those countries.
Madam Speaker, if we talk about the issue of teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers, soldiers, including Parliament employees - are they being well remunerated for them to have the zeal to come to work? The remunerations must be awarded properly in order to acknowledge them for their good job.
Let me start with the Parliament employees; we are here, they are the ones recording and capturing all that is being said in Parliament. Parliament staff has important roles also such as informing us of daily activities. This group of workers does their best and must be given good remuneration so that they can continue to execute their jobs well. However, that is not happening on the ground, what can we do to improve the welfare of Parliament staff?
I grew up from a family where my mother was a nurse and we were very proud because we were called children of a nurse. However, nowadays if you are a child of a civil servant whether a teacher, soldier, police officer or nurse you are all the same.
Madam Speaker, if we look at the issue of transport for civil servants, the other time I raised that issue when I was tabling an education report that most of the teachers face difficulties finding transport to and from work. These Government employees also want cars - give them a credit facility for them to purchase cars. Such kind of incentives helps families to leave a better life. Most of the people whom you see hiking public transport, most of them are Government employees. Yes, the Government rolled out buses but they are not enough to cater for all the Government employees.
The police officers having spent all the day working to ensure the safety of the public, at the end of the day you see them waiting for public transport wearing their uniform. This job deserves some kind of respect, considering the duties carried out. The same with nurses, you see them wearing their white uniforms getting into public transport which is not good at all.
The respect which used to be given to civil servants must continue to be given to them. Long back, if you would get into a class room or at any congregation and ask children what they would want to do when they grew up, they would say I want to be a nurse or doctor. Right now, if you ask children what they would want to do when they grow up, you will notice that they are running away from these professions – instead, they want to be lawyers. It has been noted that the profession of teaching or that of the health fraternity is no longer of value.
However, if the Government can award these car loans, these employees can be comfortable in going to and from work thereby performing their duties diligently.
I once spoke on the issue of clothing allowance; civil servants must be given an opportunity to go and buy cloths on credit with a Government guarantee. This will improve their lifestyle and also maintain the status in the public domain. If someone is engaged in a project of building their house or farming in the rural areas, there must be a scheme to support such projects.
I also want to talk about the issue of funeral policies, there is need for Government to come up with better options in terms of payments so that when a Government employee dies or their next of keen, and they can get a decent burial. A person will be given a status mostly because of where they were serving or working during their life time. The dignity of civil servants must be restored as it was during the 90s.
Someone completes his or her O levels and goes for 4 year training, gets employed and starts earning peanuts. So the issue of Government salaries must be resolved so that employees get deserving packages and be able to have a decent life. There are certain furniture shops which offers credit on zero deposit, so, Government employees must be given stamped letters from their respective departments for example a Parliament employee can go with stamped letter from Parliament.
There is need for us as Government to put our heads so that our employees have decent lives. Even when the kids are going to school, they will be able to blend well with other children from well up families if salaries of Government workers are raised. Performance of school children also reflects the situation at home. The Government must responsible enough to take care of its employees.
Madam Speaker if you look at the issue of even bedding, some of our employees do not even afford to buy beds. We have many pension funds organisations, these can build houses and civil servants can benefit from these houses whilst they are on mortgage backed by Government as a guarantor. So, at the end of the day both the employees and the pensioners are able at able to benefit since the money will paid over a long period of time.
Lastly, I want to congratulate and thank Government employees, including the staff of Parliament. We have them here on a daily basis executing their duties perfectly. As Government, let us help them so that they can be able to have a comfortable life. There are unions which represent Government employees, we want to thank them. There were issues to do with strikes, but these unions have waited for the negotiations to take place under the tripartite negotiation. Therefore, I am urging the task force responsible for the negotiations to go and work together so that our employees will benefit. Our civil servants should not leave the country searching for greener pastures because of low remuneration. My plea is that the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour and other relevant ministries must look into this issue urgently and resolve it, like what Hon. Madhuku has said. I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak.
(v)HON. I. NYONI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion raised by Hon. Madhuku and seconded by Hon. T. Moyo. Motivation of civil servants plays a major part in achieving various Government programmes. We are all aware that this motivation can be in various forms. Of course a reasonable salary that is above the poverty datum line is very important to enable Government workers to afford basic needs such as school fees, clothing, accommodation, transport et cetera. Poverty datum line in September 2020 according to ZIMSTAT for a family of 5 was 17244RTGS, this was 8 months ago and we are now in May. The poverty datum line has increased substantially far much over 20000RTGS. It is therefore important for all civil servants to be able to afford a roof over their heads, be able to pay school fees for their children, be able to contribute towards medical aid and other necessities for a middle class worker. I would like to believe that most civil servants are classified as middle class workers. At the moment, it is clear that civil servants are not putting maximum effort in their various fields of employment because of the meagre salaries. A good example are teachers, some of them are providing their services for only a few days a week, the reason being that they are incapacitated due to the meagre salaries.
However, some of the civil servants spend most of their time trying to supplement their salaries by engaging in selling various commodities instead of putting 100% effort on their jobs. This includes our own Parliament staff. Basically they are trying to make ends meet. It is therefore important for civil servants to be capacitated. In the case of teachers, I think it is also important to have their children not pay school fees just like we have other employees like ZESA staff. I understand they get free electricity to a certain level. The same can be applied to nurses and other civil servants.
I also believe decent salaries to civil servants will go a long way in reducing corruption since these meagre salaries are a cause of the current corruption in the civil service. Recently, we have heard cases at the Registrar General’s office and other important Government departments. I am positive this is due to the meagre salaries that they are getting. If they were properly remunerated, the corruption would be minimised to a large extend. Due to the meagre salaries, we see nurses, doctors, teachers and other skilled civil servants seeking greener pastures outside the country resulting in our country losing important skills and brain drain.
It is therefore important to improve these salaries without further delays. In brief Madam Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Madhuku for this very important motion. I thank you very much.
*HON. PORUSINGAZI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate supporting the motion raised by the former civil servant Hon. Madhuku, second by Hon. T. Moyo. Madam Speaker, in the past, for one to be said to be a Government worker, it was something that was very honourable. Teachers for example were the ones who were able to afford tea in the morning and meals served with meat for lunch and dinner. They bathed using Geisha soap and would use Nivea creams because their jobs were well paying. Nowadays it is now different, now Government workers regret working for Government. They now envy other paying jobs. All of us here came through the hands of a teacher and they help moulding the future.
If your child were to be married to a police officer, as a parent you were proud of it, in the past. Every parent wanted their children to be married to an Agritex officer and Government employees. When we were still young during our youthful days, our wish was to marry a teacher or a nurse because those jobs were honourable jobs and they were well paying. Nowadays, it is different. These civil servants now envy other well paying jobs. All of us here, we passed through the hands of a teacher. They are responsible for our wellbeing from childhood to where we are right now. If you look right now, some teachers wear one shirt from Monday to Friday. They have no choice because they do have something to change with. Long back they were known for buying from Topics and Edgars but now most of them cannot afford. Very few now can afford. It is not all of them who cannot afford but most of them cannot afford to pay Edgars or Topics. We applaud the presence of bales because at least they can get one or two shirts yet that should not be the case.
In our rural areas, we notice that some fail even to join a funeral service and if they die or have a funeral of their immediate family, they cannot afford a coffin. We end up chipping in as Members of Parliament. If we do not help, we will see some being buried on a traditional mat (rupasa). What we notice is that when they retire, their bodies weaken because they cannot afford a decent meal and some die quickly due to stress. Soon after retirement, their lives become meaningless. Let us take care of our teachers, not only teachers but all civil servants. Even those who work here are equally affected.
I would like to thank Hon. Madhuku for moving this motion to cushion our civil servants because we have seen the results in our schools. This cushion should be something which can help them have a better life. Ordinary Level results are a result of the teachers’ hard work but what do they get after that - peanuts. Civil servants wake up very early in the morning to go to work even though their salaries are miserable. If we look at nurses with this pandemic, they still strive to go to work because they love their job. Let us not forget that most of these professionals spent about three or four years to be where they are because they wanted better remuneration.
As Parliament, we must be moved by this motion, so let us take it seriously. We represent everyone here including the army, police force and all those in other Government departments. We should appreciate their work by improving their livelihoods. I thank you.
(v) HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. Most of my points have been covered in previous debates but I would like to just raise a couple of issues. I would like to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Madhuku and bring to the table the following issues. The issue here is the salaries of the teachers and as has been said, up to now it is actual representative of the civil servants across the board. The issue pertaining to teachers as I have said is salaries. We cannot run a budget and run the books and claim that we have achieved something that civil servants salaries now is 40% of the budget when it was 97. What that means in this current hyper-inflation situation is that the salary now means very little. From this salary problem, we now start getting issues of people wanting to put in food hampers, fuel allowance – the fundamental issue we have with teachers is salaries and nothing else.
My concern is that Government seems to be running away from the real problem which is salaries in a hyper-inflationary situation. We have to seek out the fundamental problem of our teachers. As it stands, civil servants do not have a pensionable income. After years of work, our pensions today mean nothing. Medical aid is virtually non-existent. Even Parliamentarians belong to a medical aid but when it comes to payment and claiming, the two things are very different. As funeral polices, the similar issue remains. NSSA contributions compared to what they are receiving are non-linkable. Teachers face numerous problems. They face a dilapidated infrastructure; they face a huge population increase in class but they have very few tools that have been supplied by the Ministry; things like books. We have a major issue with books in most constituencies. Coupled with that, we now go into situations in most Government schools where people are hot sitting.
If you take one of my schools, I have a school that is a satellite school. It has got 1 100 children and only one teacher at that school is paid by Government. It appears that Government has reluctance to take more teachers onto their books. Now, you cannot steal the future by reducing the number of teachers so that we have got a higher ratio of pupils per teacher. Today, teachers and most civil servants cannot afford any housing plan. They cannot afford any transport plan. Gone are the days where teachers used to go to school in a car. Gone are the days where housing was provided in most Government schools, particularly in rural areas. As a result, we are now losing teachers to the diaspora. Also at primary schools, we have got numerous private schools beaming up all over the country and they are taking the best of our teachers. We are now left with teachers who cannot even feed themselves and this is a major issue. I run into another issue which is the infrastructure, our infrastructure and building of schools is way behind. Even in schools where there has been donations and we have to supply the sciences: the domestic science, chemical science and agricultural colleges, we lack the ability to pay for that and all those things are lying idle.
So, the teachers have to face all that purely because they are not being paid what they are supposed to be. They have been incapacitated now for two years but with the COVID coming in and complicating the issue. We now have parents facing problems where they are paying school fees but their children are not learning. Whether they are delayed by COVID or by the incapacitation of the teachers, the parents are not getting anything for what they are paying.
As a result, we are not in a country where we are now taking and stealing the children’s future by not educating them, which is easy because that is something that is going to come up in the future just so that we can balance our books or pretend to temporarily balance our books because we reduce the civil servants’ ratio in our National Budget. As I said, we lose everyone to private schools and we are losing people across the board. We have got a major crisis in the health sector. However, my biggest concern is that we were promised that the health service and all frontline workers including teachers, that there would be a COVID allowance and this has not happened, it is a broken promise. As a result now, we are in a situation where we are boasting about balancing the budget but at what cost? At what cost are we balancing the budget when we are not educating our children, when we are not supplying a decent health service? I thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to contribute.
*HON. MAKONYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Madhuku for raising this pertinent motion and supported by Hon. T. Moyo which is a very good motion. This motion concerns our civil servants. Madam Speaker, looking at our civil servants, they are people who used to be respected in the past when we were growing up. If you look at someone who was called a teacher, he was a respected person, even within the family structures. If a parent knew that a child is in love with a teacher, that family was called a lucky family because their child is married to a teacher or is in love with a teacher. Even looking at the soldiers, if a child is married to a soldier there was a big celebration that a child is married to a soldier. This means that civil servants were respected very much, including police officers.
Nurses were respected very much in our society but right now their respect is no longer the same. Looking at teachers right now especially female teachers, their dressing tells you that you have seen a female teacher. When they are going to school, especially those that reside in town, you see them carrying carrier bags full of maputi and zapnax to sell at school so that they can survive, but we do not expect this from a teacher. If you look at everyone who is educated, they came from the hands of teachers. During the covid pandemic lockdown when we spent many days with our children at home from grade 0 to grade 7, you could see that this is problematic, so tell me what about a teacher who starts their day with children at 7.30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. teaching these children. It means teachers have a lot of problems. Therefore we are saying may Government award them salaries which they deserve, including soldiers, nurses and police officers. Soldiers and policemen protect us even in areas where we stay. Give them rewards or salaries which they deserve.
Looking at police officers uniforms at road blocks, they are in a sorry state. This is a qualified police officer but sometimes due to dressing, you think they are the neighbourhood watch officers. Due to poor salaries our police officers end up engaging in corrupt activities. For teachers to engage in extra lessons, it is because they want to get extra money for survival, but we do not expect them to do these extra lessons because some parents do not have money to pay for these extra lessons. Some children could not manage to write their examinations because they did not have money to go for extra lessons and some of them end up failing because they do not have the money for extra lessons. These children just stayed at their homes during the covid-19 lockdowns. Therefore we are saying give them deserving salaries. They are educated to teach a child to write from A to Z or 0 to 10. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am happy to speak in support of the motion that has been moved by Hon. Madhuku and supported by Hon. Moyo. I will start by highlighting that the civil servants have the Constitution of Zimbabwe on their side and as a country that is under Constitutional supremacy we need to be guided by what our national Constitution is saying about this particular case. If you look at Section 65, it speaks about the labour rights and says every person has the right to fair and safe labour practices and standards and to be paid a fair and reasonable wage.
For today, I think the most important component is a fair and reasonable wage, a wage that gives you dignity. I think as a Member of Parliament I would like to register my serious concerns about the standard of salaries and terms of benefits for civil servants in this country, especially in the last five years, I think it is deplorable. In support of this motion I am also encouraging the Government, especially Treasury to take serious measures to ensure that the terms and conditions of employment and benefits for our civil servants are improved drastically.
It is for the benefit of this country that we do so. For example, we are fighting against corruption at the moment. To win the war against corruption, one of the things that we need to do is to make sure that civil servants have good benefits and terms and conditions of employment and are remunerated well. One of the reasons that makes them get into situations of corrupt behaviour and conduct is related to the low salary that they are getting. So, we cannot win the fight against corruption as a country when our civil servants are getting these kinds of salaries. It is important that we improve their terms and conditions of employment and in that process; we boost our fight against corruption. Another reason is that we need to be worried about the brain drain. We are a country that produces a lot of skills but at the same time, we are A country that loses a lot of skills. We now have a Diaspora community. Millions of our fellow Zimbabweans are now leaving permanently outside Zimbabwe. One of the reasons why they are no longer in Zimbabwe is because of the terms and conditions of employment, the salaries that they were earning in this country when compared to other countries.
We can talk about patriotism and introducing the Patriotism Bill but I doubt that the Patriotism Bill will be able to stop any civil servant from getting another employment opportunity in another country. Patriotism does not bring food to the table. So, as Government, it is important that we talk of patriotism and also make sure that our civil servants get patriotic salaries and benefits. I know that there is a situation where people are saying where does the money come from?
I think the Minister of Finance has, on several occasions, boasted about surplus in public. What we need to know is how we can have surplus when people are being paid deplorable salaries, when our civil servants are striving to make ends meet. I am challenging the Minister of Finance Hon. Prof. Ncube to make sure that the so called surplus that he is always boasting about be diverted to improve the salaries of our civil servants. Our teachers have been on strike for more than a year now and they are struggling to pay them at least US$550. That surplus could be put to better use. There is no reason why we should boast about having surplus of money when our people have no decent salaries.
Another issue that we need to worry about is about making sure that we can pay our civil servants, not just in cash but in kind. There are many schemes that the Government can come up with. Benefits around housing, medical aid, education, school fees and so on - practical benefits that are incentives for civil servants not to leave the civil service. Even if they are not getting highly competitive salaries, but as long as they have got those benefits and they want to get a car loan, let us make it easier and if they want to have land or a stand, let us make it easier for them. If it is pension, let us make sure that the pension is a pension that they are going to depend on.
So, we need to improve and we can go to other countries if we feel it necessary so that we learn from them so that we can retain our civil servants without even worrying a lot about how much they are earning. Most importantly, if we are going to build Zimbabwe, we need to make sure that all the civil servants are aboard. They are all focused on developing the country rather than worrying everyday about bread and butter issues and their family welfare.
In support of this motion, I say the Minister of Finance and Government, please enough is enough. Come up with a salary structure that really makes sure that all our civil servants do not deal with the poverty datum line anymore. Thank you so much for this motion and it is about time we give our civil servants competitive salaries and terms and conditions of employment. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th May, 2021.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.