Workers besiege council offices over salaries

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Harare city council employees yesterday besieged the offices of acting Town Clerk Engineer Christopher Zvobgo and the Human Resources Director Cainos Chingombe demanding clarity on the continued late payment of their salaries.
The workers were complaining that disbursement of salaries was haphazard with some payments coming as late as mid month.
When NewsDay arrived at the scene, scores of disgruntled workers were milling around Town House but failed to meet Zvobgo and Chingombe, who in turn wrote a letter to the angry employees saying they would address their grievances only after meeting the town clerk and the treasurer.
The workers were also irked by the municipality’s failure to secure housing stands for employees who have been on the waiting list for ages.
“Your request is acknowledged, but however I am of the view that we hold a meeting with the town clerk and treasurer and map the way forward,” Chingombe wrote.
“Thereafter we will be in a position to give a clear picture regarding when and how salaries should be paid…We will revert to you sometime this week regarding the issue of salaries.”
The delay in payment of council workers comes at a time local government minister Ignatius Chombo has been criticised by the city fathers for ordering the council to pay a team probing the evictions of tenants from council houses at least $37 000 for investigations they conducted last month.
Another team has been set up by Chombo to “further probe” the councillors amid growing fears that more cash could be drawn from the council’s drying coffers.
Councillors argued that there was no logic in Chombo ordering the payment of such huge amounts of money to individuals while employees were struggling to make ends meet.
Councillors also argued in recent meetings that there were many ghost workers within the council system.
An audit team led by Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi has been set up to ascertain the exact number of ghost workers.
Council sources said yesterday that although the audit was going on, fears were that it would not produce desired results as the brains behind the initiative – the councillors from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T)-had been “shut out” and reduced to observers.