HomeLocal NewsTeachers, nurses get raw deal in SA

Teachers, nurses get raw deal in SA

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Zimbabwean teachers and nurses who have been forced to trek to South Africa in search of greener pastures, experience a lot of difficulties in securing appropriate work permits, resulting in them suffering abuse from unscrupulous employers, an MDC-M activist based in Johannesburg has said.

Ngqabutho Dube said due to lack of proper documentation, teachers and nurses end up getting raw deals at bogus colleges or institutions that took advantage of their desperate situation.

“Most Zimbabwean teachers are given three-month contracts and this has made it difficult for them to obtain four-year permits,” said Dube.

“A lot of them end up being employed by private colleges and are usually underpaid.”

Dube said the problem of securing permanent employment was not only confined to Zimbabwean teachers but nurses also found it difficult to secure jobs at government hospitals in South Africa.

He said his party had called for a meeting with the professionals to discuss the issues affecting them.

“What prompted us to do this is that in December the South African government withdrew over 5 000 South African passports from Zimbabweans,” he said.

Dube said when they approached immigration officials they were told South Africa presented security threats internationally as any national could come to South Africa and fraudulently obtain that country’s travelling documents.

“Zimbabweans have been travelling to the United Kingdom using RSA passports, but when they get there they then claim to be Zimbabweans,” he said.

He said this was the reason that prompted the UK to impose visas on holders of South African documents and also the country’s Home Affairs ministry to institute a clampdown at the border posts.

Tendai Chikowore, the president of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association and Apex Council, under which umbrella the affected Zimbabwean teachers fell, said: “This will be the case in mostly private colleges and not in government service. Teachers under the government are getting the same salaries and conditions as their South African counterparts.”

She said a large percentage failed to get government employment and were engaged by private institutions, hence the abuse.

More than 1 million Zimbabwean professionals reportedly trekked to neighbouring countries, including SA and Botswana, in search of employment when the country began to experience economic problems.

The government, whose financial coffers are dry because of a decade of economic mismanagement, has failed to look after its professionals hence the great trek of skilled workers.

On average, civil servants in Zimbabwe earn a monthly salary of $150, way below the poverty datum line of $500.

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